Turkey and Pakistan have grouped together to take on India through their Kashmir campaign as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was one of the first leaders to back Pakistan's position on abrogation of Article 370.
Turkey also raised the Kashmir issue in the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019.
Raising the Kashmir issue in collaboration is mutually beneficial for both the countries as it would help Pakistan to strengthen its position on Kashmir at the global fora and benefit the desperation of Erdogan to become the undisputed ‘Caliph’ of the Muslim Ummah.
The Turkish support to Pakistan’s global campaign against India on Kashmir and ‘Hindutva’ shall also elevate and enhance Erdogan's position amongst the South Asian Muslims — the population on which he is banking to claim the leadership of the Islamic world.
Besides the issuing statements by the President, parliamentarians, and other leaders, the Turkish institutions have played a super active role in creating the anti-India narrative on Kashmir. Amongst institutional entities, Turkish educational institutions have been leading the Turkish efforts to further anti-India agenda, which have become places of convergence of anti-India elements.
According to Indian security agencies due to Turkey-Pakistan bonhomie, anti-India events are being organized in Turkish Universities to give the campaign legitimacy for the past one year. These events are organized in collaboration of the Pakistani mission in Turkey, Pakistan sponsored NGOs and Pakistani proxies. More than 30 big and small conferences and seminars on Kashmir have been organised in Turkish Universities since August 5, 2019.
The ISI proxy and Secretary-General of World Kashmir Forum Ghulam Nabi Fai attended around half a dozen events. Whereas, Pakistani Ambassador to Turkey Syrus Sajjad Qazi was seen attending several such events.
In fact, Pakistani Embassy and Pakistani Consulates themselves organised multiple events on Kashmir, including ‘Jammu and Kashmir under the pressure of far-right nationalism’ in Istanbul Aydin University as well as ‘The Question of Kashmir’ and ‘From 05 August 2019, till today: endless martial law’ in Istanbul University - to mark the completion of one year of abrogation of Article 370, besides others.
The Indian origin students are the targeted audience invited in these events and disgruntled students from the Kashmir valley and anti-India academicians are invited as speakers at these events.
President of POJK Sardar Masood Khan has also attended and spoken at several such events.
Pakistan sponsored organisations like Kashmir Civitas and Kashmir Working Group also organised back to back events educational institutions of Turkey, propagating the pro-Pak narrative.
The HoD of Urdu Department in Istanbul University Prof Halil Toker has also organised and spoken at several conferences on Kashmir in the Istanbul University. He is a known Pak proxy who happens to be the recipient of Sitara-e-Imtiyaz 2017 Award by the Pakistani Government.
The Turkey-Pakistan has also roped in organisation floated by it for anti-India propaganda and subversion of Indian minds.
The list of organisations that have organised anti-India events on Kashmir issue includes the South Asia Strategic Research Centre (GASAM), Turkey Youth Foundation’s Regional Expert's Training Programme (TUGVA's BUYP), YTB, and many others.
The two major bodies tasked to build Erdogan’s image in the world by carrying out Turkish propaganda - Religious Affairs Directorates Turkiye Diyanet Foundation (TDV) and Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) - were also roped in to organise such events in Turkish educational institutions.
The fact that YTB and TUGVA work under the directions of President Erdogan’s son Bilal Erdogan connotes the direct role being played by the Erdogan government in anti-India activities.
Similarly, the presence of leaders like Yalci Topcu, Head Advisor to the Turkish President and MPs Metin Gundogdu and A Sahin in these events and them sharing the stage with the Pakistani Ambassador to Turkey highlight the Pak-Turkey nexus against India.
Pakistani ISI is working to utilize all the political factions in Turkish politics to capitalize on the Kashmir issue. It is using government-sponsored organisations like Turkiye Diyanet Foundation, GASAM, SETA etc to further its agenda on Kashmir. At the same time, it is also utilizing its connections with the opposition party — Islamist Saadet, by engaging Anadolu Youth Association (AGD), Asma Kopru, SDE, etc.
Besides organizing anti-India events in Turkey, it is also weaponising education by subversion of Indian students. Its programmes are designed to achieve long term connection with Indian students and achieving long term goals.
The Diyanet Foundation, under the Directorate of Religious Affairs and Presidency of Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB), selectively target the middle class Muslims in India by providing them scholarships and stipends.
The YTB has already expressed its desire to take more Indian students in Turkey and alleged that Indian agencies are obstructing the granting of scholarships to such students.
The Rectors in Universities are appointed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to achieve the party's political goals. Once students join Universities, they come under the influence of Turkey's Federation of International Students Associations (UDEF).
While studying in Turkey, most of them come in contact with the Indian Student's Circle (ISC), which is controlled by the YTB and provides funding for organizing anti-India events.
On passing out, the Turkish International Association of Graduates Uluslararasi Mezunlar Dernegi or TUMED maintains connections with students.
The admission-scholarship-university-alumni channel is maintained by Turkish Embassies, Consulates Turkey’s Maarif Foundation (TMV), Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), Yunus Emre Institute (YEE), Red Crescent, Turkish Airlines, and TDF.
The long-list of educational hotspots for anti-India activities include Istanbul University, Istanbul Sbahattin Zaim University, Ibn Haldun University, Anakar Yildirim Beyazit University, Erzurum Diplomasi Akademisi, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakif University, many more.
The subversion activities of TDV/Diyanet and IHH in India are noteworthy. Besides the scholarship programme for higher education, the Diyanet is also running scholarship programme for Islamic theology and has provided scholarships to a number of Indian students from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Kerala to study in Turkey to become Imams.
The Diyanet is also working to promote Islamic extremism in India.
Similarly, the IHH is expanding its base in the Muslim dominated regions of India under the guise of welfare and humanitarian work. International experts have already warned India about the two organisations spreading their legs in India and radicalizing the Muslim populations to wage war against the Indian government.
Organisations under the direct control of Turkey Government — Union of NGOs of Islamic World (UNIW) and TUGVA have also made inroads amongst Muslim communities in India. UNIW is an alliance of 354 NGOs from 66 countries.
Numerous Indian Islamic outfits/NGOs have joined the alliance and are working in India on its behest.
Further, Bilal Erdogan’s TUGVA has made strong inroads within India by establishing connections with Islamic outfits in India, including Jamaat-e-Islamic Organisation's student wing Student Islamic Organisation (SIO).
There is an entire nexus of Turkey government, Pakistani ISI NGOs, and Indian students — all coming together in educational institutions to carry out their anti-India agenda.
Though India has succeeded in checking the direct interference of organisations like YTB, TUGVA, Diyanet, and IHH in India, still these organisations continue to carry out the Turkish propaganda and making the proxies to work for them, they have been somewhat successful in taking Indian students to Turkey and send them back brainwashed.
The need of the hour is to ensure the gatekeeping of India students from the proxies of Turkey, operating in India.