Modi cancels Turkey visit after Erdogan's Kashmir comments

Sun Online Desk

20th October, 2019 07:03:35 printer

Modi cancels Turkey visit after Erdogan's Kashmir comments

The Indian government has cancelled a two-day official visit to Ankara by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the backdrop of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s UNGA speech last month where he criticised India’s move on Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, News18 reports.

Erdogan raised the Kashmir issue at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and also backed Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meet in Paris, following which India has decided to give the cold shoulder to Turkey.

Modi’s trip to Ankara would have been his first stand-alone visit to Turkey. He was to have proceeded to Turkey from Saudi Arabia, where he is going on October 27-28 to attend a mega investment summit.

A Ministry of External Affairs Source said the visit was never finalised “so there is no question of cancellation”.

Modi had last visited Turkey during the G20 in Antalya in 2015. He had held a bilateral with Erdogan in Osaka, on the sidelines of the G20 in June this year. The Turkish leader had paid a two-day visit to India in July 2018.

However, Erdogan's strong backing of Pakistan's position on Kashmir and alleging widespread human rights violations by India during his speech at the UN General Assembly last month has not gone down well with India.

In his speech, Erdogan had raised the issue of UN resolutions on Kashmir and alleged that "eight million people are stuck" in Kashmir due to revocation of special status. He had criticised the international community for failing to pay attention to the Kashmir issue.

India had slammed the statement, with the MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar asking Turkey "to get a proper understanding of the situation on the ground" before making statements on the Kashmir issue which is "completely internal to India".

At the end of September, at an event in Turkey to mark the building of a warship for Pakistan, Erdogan said he will continue to flag the Kashmir issue on the world stage.