NEW DELHI: In a recent television interview, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan advocated a “multilateral” solution to the Kashmir dispute – and this is only one of his positions that may cause diplomatic tension with India. President Erdogan made the comments during an interview with India-based news channel ahead of his arrival in New Delhi on Sunday. During the interview, Erdogan expressed his concern at the continuing stand-off between India and Pakistan on the disputed Kashmir region. “We should not allow more casualties to occur and by strengthening multilateral dialogue, we can be involved,” Erdogan said in the interview. “Through multilateral dialogue, I think we have to seek out ways to settle this question once and for all.” “This Kashmir question, this question saddens us deeply,” added Erdogan. “It upsets both the countries involved. Surmounting the Kashmiri challenge will contribute tremendously to global peace.” India has always opposed third-party intervention in India-Pakistan bilateral issues while Pakistan has continuously sought mediation to sort out differences over Kashmir and other disputes.
The spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Gopal Baglay, would not be drawn into a discussion on past stances on Kashmir taken by Turkey (like raising the issue of Kashmir on behalf of Pakistan in the Organisation of Islamic Countries) or even statements by President Erdogan who, during a visit to Pakistan in September last year, said that Turkey was fully with Pakistan in “support of the struggle of our Muslim brothers and sisters in Kashmir”. Erdogan has also said that he favors Pakistan’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), along with India, saying New Delhi should have no objection to it. “Both India and Pakistan have the right to aspire for NSG membership. I think India should not assume such an attitude. If Turkey was fair enough to support Pakistan, it was fair enough to support India. We are very objective and positive to the NSG process,” he said. The NSG is a 48-nation club committed to limiting nuclear arms proliferation by overseeing the export, re-transfer and protection of sensitive materials that could foster nuclear weapons development.