ISLAMABAD: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in his address to a joint sitting of parliament on Friday, emphasised that the Kashmir dispute cannot be solved through oppression and conflict, but through dialogue on a just and equitable basis.
Such a solution would serve the interest of all the parties, President Erdogan observed amid thumping of desks during the well-attended session.
He noted that the sufferings the people of India-held Kashmir had been facing for decades became more severe with the unilateral actions taken by India in recent months. “This approach, which aggravates the current situation and revokes the freedom and ... rights of the Kashmiri people, does not bring any benefit to anyone,” he remarked.
President Erdogan said Turkey would continue to stand on the side of justice, peace and solution through dialogue concerning the Kashmir dispute.
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Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Khawaja Asif were among the parliamentarians who attended the session. Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi were also present.
Earlier, national anthems of both countries were played before the session formally started with recitation from the holy Quran.
The Turkish president rejected US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, calling it a “plot to occupy Palestinian territory”.
He observed that the plan was heavily tilted in Israel’s favour. He regretted that the occupation, annexation and destruction plan had been unveiled by the US administration in the past weeks under the name of ‘Deal of the Century’.
He said Turkey remained actively engaged in all matters concerning the Ummah, especially during presidency of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
“We took an honourable and determined stance against the attacks of Israel on our first Qibla, Al-Quds Al-Sharif,” he said, adding that Turkey declared that Haram Al-Sharif would not be left at the mercy of occupying Israeli administration saying ‘Jerusalem is our red line’.
He showered praise on Pakistan for contributing to Afghan peace process. “Turkey provides support, as necessary, during this process to Pakistan and Afghanistan, who are both brotherly countries for us,” he remarked.
President Erdogan observed that Pakistan was on the road to development and prosperity. “Undoubtedly, economic development is not an incident that will happen today to tomorrow. With this aim, it is required to work hard, act in a planned way and behave with determination, faith and self-confidence,” he added.
He said stability and trust were the two indispensable conditions for development. “I believe that the endeavours exerted by Pakistan in cooperation with the legislative, executive, judicial and military institutions will bear fruit in a short time,” he believed. The steps taken to improve business and investment environment had made Pakistan more attractive in the eyes of investors, he said, adding that he had come to Pakistan with a large group of businessmen from diverse fields.
The Turkish president said: “We once again confirm our confidence in Pakistan’s prosperous future and economy. We will carry our economic relations to the desired level by joining hands with 210 million people in Pakistan and 83 million people in Turkey.”
He said Turkey appreciated the efforts that Pakistan exerted in fighting against terrorism. Pakistan had much suffered from the instabilities in the region, terrorism and the conflicts. He said: “As a country combating separatist terrorism for 35 years and being at the target of the most violent organisations of the world from Daesh, Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to Fethullahist terror organisation (FETO), we very well understand the challenges that Pakistan encounters” (FETO is a name Turkish government use for Gulen movement).
“We will continue to support Pakistan in its fight against terrorism. As the Islamic world, we are struggling with serious problems from terrorism to conflicts, sectarianism to hunger and poverty. Pakistan and Turkey are the primary countries which are mostly affected from these crises due to their geographical positions”.
President Erdogan said: “Here, in Pakistan, we never consider ourselves as strangers. We feel ourselves at home, in one of the most important meeting points in Asia, in the fertile geography of the Islamic world”.
He noted that fraternal ties between Turkey and Pakistan had been granted to very few countries and nations of the world. He said the much-envied Turkey-Pakistan brotherhood had been strengthened by history and reinforced by historical events. “Our friendship is derived not from benefit, but from love. We consider the pain of Pakistan as our pain, their joy as our joy and their success as our own success.
“With this understanding, we immediately rushed to the help of our brothers by all means available during the flood and earthquake disasters that Pakistan has experienced in recent years. We felt the prayers of the people of Pakistan were with us, after the treacherous coup attempt of July 15 when 251 people were martyred”.
He said Pakistani authorities by transferring the schools belonging to FETO to Turkish Maarif Foundation displayed that they were true friend. “We received a very strong support from the State of Pakistan and its people to the Peace Spring Operation, which we launched in the north of Syria in October”.
“We will continue to stand by Pakistan in the future, as we did in the past. In this context, I would like to emphasise that we will support Pakistan that may face political pressure at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meetings which is a current issue. The brotherhood law in Islam requires sharing agitations and being involved in them besides supporting the fellow believers. Short-term interests, daily reckonings cannot hinder our everlasting and eternal brotherhood,” he said.
The Turkish president said: “It is our duty to feel the pain of our Muslim brother and to stand by the persecuted ones no matter where they are all over the world. Because, according to our belief, giving consent for persecution is persecution itself no matter from whom it comes. With this understanding, Turkey endeavours to eliminate the differences between the Ummah, to find a solution to the disputes and to claim our righteous causes, especially Palestine, Cyprus and Kashmir.”
Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2020