Turkey supports India's bid for NSG membership; Indo-Pak talks should continue to resolve Kashmir issue: President Erdogan
The president said that he wanted to see "an open channel for dialogue to bring India and Pakistan together which can be put into place by the Indian PM and Pak PM to solve the dispute forever".
New Delhi: Outlining his government's views on a variety of contentious issues affecting India, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that Ankara will work closely with New Delhi and explore areas of mutual interest, including trade, to enhance bilateral relations.
In an exclusive interview with Ramesh Ramachandran of WION, the Turkish leader explained his government's views on issues such as Indo-Pak ties, Kashmir dispute, India's membership to the nuclear suppliers' group (NSG) and New Delhi's ties with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
On the issue of Kashmir, the president said that he wanted to see "an open channel for dialogue to bring India and Pakistan together which can be put into place by the Indian PM and Pak PM to solve the dispute forever".
He said that he was "deeply saddened" and "upset" over the issue which has divided people in the Indian sub-continent.
"For the last seven decades, this question has not been settled. And I believe doing so will provide relief to both countries," Erdogan said.
Calling for an early resolution of the Kashmir issue, the Turkish President said that "extending conflicts, extending questions and carrying these questions to the future will be unfair to the future generations".
On Turkey being a member of Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), which has been critical of India on the issue of Kashmir, Erdogan said, "Pakistan consists of 100% Muslims and there is a very large Muslim population inside India.
“And as the OIC, we would never act against India, we would never release statements against India. This is not what we are running after. All we want to see is open the channel for dialogue in order to bring India and Pakistan closer to one another, in order to hopefully settle the dispute on Kashmir once and for all."
"I have heard PM Nawaz Sharif personally speaking about his will to settle this question with me once and for all. So if we keep the dialogue channels open, we can settle this question," he told WION.
The president hoped to strengthen "multilateral dialogue" to find a way forward to solve the contentious border issue.
On the issue of India's NSG membership, Erdogan stressed that his government has not linked India and Pakistan on the issue and said that it is an inherent right of both the countries.
“We are not linking the two, that is why I said that is India's right and Pakistan's right.
“They both have nuclear capabilities and we are trying to act very fairly and we are supportive of India” the president said.
“If Turkey was fair enough to support Pakistan, it should be fair enough to support India,” he added.