Turkey pledges to support Pakistan on Kashmir at UN

ISLAMABAD: Turkey has assured Pakistan of complete support in its quest for a peaceful solution to the long-standing issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

“In the group, which has been formed over Kashmir in the UN, we will stand with Pakistan and try to make [its efforts] successful,” the visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a press conference he jointly add­ress­ed with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi after a formal round of talks between the two sides on Friday.

He said it was Turkey’s desire that the Kashmir dispute involving India and Pakistan was resolved in a peaceful manner.

Cavusoglu and Qureshi say both countries will collectively confront Islamophobia

Mr Qureshi welcomed Turkey’s decision to support Pakistan’s bid for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue at the UN. He said: “At the United Nations, there will be a separate conference on Kashmir on the sidelines. It happens every year, but it is different this time because a new UN report has come out which sheds light on India-occupied Kashmir,” he said.

There had certainly been a surge in people’s interest in human rights abuses which were taking place in Kashmir, he added.

The Turkish foreign minister said: “In today’s meeting, I discussed a lot of issues with FM Qureshi. The most important aspect of our discussion was on the [High-Level] Strategic [Cooperation] Council, the sixth conference of which, God willing, will take place in Pakistan, and we will do all we can to make it happen.

“We have strengthened our commercial ties, and [decided to facilitate] our companies that want to work in Pakistan. We have a unique relation, therefore, we should work together to further enhance our relations. The security issue for both the countries is important and so is the economic and military cooperation.”

FM Cavusoglu said: “There is propaganda against Islam in Europe. We ran a campaign against the Netherlands caricatures, and thank God they shut it down.”

He said Pakistan and Turkey had suffered the most hardships in the war against terrorism. He said Turkey would never forget Pakistan and its people’s help” in the failed 2016 coup attempt.

“The Gulen movement not only damaged Turkey but it also caused destruction wherever it went,” he said, adding that Pakistan helped Turkey on that front too.

The Turkish foreign minister congratulated FM Qureshi and Prime Minister Imran Khan on forming the new government in Pakistan. “Governments and people come and go, but real friendships cannot end,” Mr Cavusoglu remarked. “This friendship should remain forever.”

Mr Qureshi said: “In our meeting today we focused on enhancing our economic relations. [We discussed] ways to facilitate each other.

“Our relationship has been very strong. There is a mutual interest. We understand each other’s sensitivities. Turkey has played a role in improving regional consensus and stability.”

He said they also had a trilateral arrangement, which could be used to further improve regional stability and connectivity. “I got the chance today to thank the Turkish FM for supporting Pakistan’s membership in Nuclear Suppliers Group. On the Netherlands caricature issue as well, Turkey supported us.”

Mr Qureshi said the situation in Afghanistan, Iran and Kashmir were also discussed at the meeting.

Earlier while welcoming Mr Cavusoglu at Foreign Office, FM Qureshi said Pakistan and Turkey were brothers, friends and partners. The inseparable bond of common faith, history and culture had been reinforced by mutual trust and a sense of inter-dependence on critical issues, he said. The strength of Pakistan-Turkey relationship was not relative to time, situations or individual choices, as it was a relationship anchored in affection and solidarity among the people of the two nations, he added.

Both foreign ministers held a one-on-one meeting followed by talks between senior officials from both sides. Mr Qureshi noted that regular exchange of delegations and the presence of a number of institutional frameworks under the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council were indicative of the close bilateral ties maintained at various levels. Pakistan and Turkey supported each other on all issues of core concern to both sides, he added.

While referring to the “heart-to-heart” and “Two Countries-One Nation” relationship, Mr Cavusoglu underlined that Pakistan would always have a special significance in Turkish foreign policy. He appreciated Pakistan’s successful and strong action to subdue and defeat the menace of extremism and terrorism.

Both sides reiterated that Pakistan and Turkey were important members of the Muslim world. “Our people take pride in their faith and are determined to make collective efforts in confronting Islamophobia and other attempts to malign or distort the great message of peace and respect for humanity imbibed in the Holy Quran and repeatedly demonstrated in the life of our Holy Prophet (PBUH),” the two leaders said.

The Turkish foreign minister during his fifth visit to Islamabad also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2018

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