Turkish lawmaker says peace in South Asia linked to Kashmir

Ankara, February 06 : Turkish lawmaker, Muhammet Balta, has said that peace and stability in South Asia are linked to the settlement of the Kashmir dispute.

Muhammet Balta, a member of the Turkish parliament and the ruling Justice and Development Party, speaking at an event hosted by the Pakistani Embassy in Ankara to mark the Kashmir Solidarity Day, said, “We believe that peace and stability of South Asia can’t be thought separately from the Kashmir issue.” He asserted that peace and stability in South Asia are important for global actors, too.

Recalling Kashmir statement made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the UN General Assembly last year, Balta said, “Our state and nation are in solidarity with Kashmiri people who experienced big pains in the past and also experiencing today.”

“Turkey and Pakistan are two countries that share unprecedented historical friendship and brotherly ties and that share their joy as well as their pain and grief in the most sincere and sacrificing manner as they have proved in their history many times before,” the Turkish lawmaker said. “Therefore, Kashmir and our brothers living in those lands always keep a place in our hearts and minds the same way as Pakistan,” he added.

Balta said resolution of the Kashmir dispute will serve the benefit of the entire region. However, it is not possible to resolve this issue keeping away the sociological, ethnic, and demographic realities of the region from our eyes, he added.

Referring to India’s August 5, 2019 move to scrap the special status of IIOJK, Balta said, “Protecting the ethnical and demographic structure of the region is serving as a basis for resolving this problem. Therefore, related UN Security Council resolutions also underline the need to protect the demographic structure of the region that is peculiar to itself.” On the other hand, the problem has become more complicated when India unilaterally lifted Article 370 of the Indian Constitution on 5 August 2019, he added.

The lawmaker said the steps are “increasing the problems of the people of the region who are Muslim in the majority. We see these steps as not acceptable.”

“Our country is willing to provide the necessary support to contribute to peace and stability of South Asia with which we have very special historical and cultural ties and to reduce tensions in the region by dialogue,” he said. “I’m Kashmir,” he concluded his speech, referring to the title of a new song composed by a Turkish lyricist about the region.

Alongside a documentary depicting the situation in Kashmir, the song “I’m Kashmir”, written by Turkish lyricist Turgay Evren, was also played at the event. A photo exhibition which showcased the human rights violations being perpetrated by Indian troops in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir was also arranged on the occasion.

Earlier, messages of Pakistan President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Khan were read out at the event.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Turkey, Syrus Sajjad Qazi, in his brief speech highlighted the massive human rights violations by India to instill fear in the people of IIOJK.

“In this day and age, no matter what lengths the Indian regime goes to block access, no matter how many curtains of secrecy it tries to pull down on the conduct of its armed forces in the Kashmir valley, no matter how many fake NGOs or dead persons it resurrects to peddle its fake news all over the world, the truth is eventually getting out — and the truth is dark and ugly,” he said. He expressed gratitude to Turkey’s principled position and continuous support to Pakistan on the Kashmir dispute, including from the government, Turkish parliament and the people of Turkey.

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