ANKARA, 23 November 2019: Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK), has said that the people of Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan will never forget Turkey’s strongest expression of solidarity and its principled stance after India’s illegal steps of 5 August 2019 in the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K).
“The people of Jammu & Kashmir will always remember the strong and unequivocal support of the Turkish government and people for their just struggle in their darkest hour”, he said adding that as, in a similar manner, the Turkish nation remembers the support extended by the Muslims of South Asia to their Turkish brethren during their War of Independence,” he said.
President Masood Khan conveyed these sentiments to Mr. Cevdet Yilmaz, Vice Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Chairman for Foreign Affairs, who received the AJK President at the AK Party headquarters in Ankara and had a detailed meeting with him.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to Turkey Mr. Muhammad Sajjad Syrus Sajjad Qazi also attended the meeting.
President Masood Khan apprised Mr. Cevdet Yilmaz of the prevailing grave human rights and humanitarian situation in the IOJ&K, expressing deep concern at the continuing blockade imposed by the Indian occupation forces against millions of Kashmiris that has now entered into its 110th consecutive day. He said that the rising tide of right-wing extremism in India in the form of Hindutva ideology was a serious threat to the regional and international peace and security.
The President said that “situation was deteriorating by the day with increased detentions, torture and forced disappearances especially of young boys”. He added that India was trying a false impression to the world that the situation was returning to “normal”. He asked how could the situation be normal after occupation of a disputed territory, disenfranchisement of its people and continuing colonisation. This, he said, was a coloniser’s and an occupier’s logic of “normalcy”.
Mr. Cevdet Yilmaz said that Pakistan and Turkey enjoyed historic ties, and both nations had always stood by one another in the face of all challenges and threats. Reiterating Turkey’s principled position on the Jammu & Kashmir dispute, Mr. Yilmaz expressed Turkey’s lasting commitment to peace and security in South Asia as well as towards upholding the principles of truth and justice in the international system.
Mr. Yilmaz said that Turkey also had special ties with Jammu and Kashmir. Referring to the statement by President Erdogan at the UN General Assembly, he said that Turkey wanted the Jammu and Kashmir issue to be resolved peacefully through dialogue in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people, and not through collision and confrontation.
President AJK said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan too preferred a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of the Kashmir dispute. However, diplomacy could not take place in vacuum, he said, as India was unwilling to engage bilaterally nor multi-laterally. He added that Pakistan supported all international mediation efforts for the resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute, and welcomed Turkey’s role in this regard, including its humanitarian diplomacy initiatives. He also urged decisive and robust action by the members of the UN Security Council to help end the ongoing Indian atrocities in IOJ&K as well as to implement its relevant resolutions that guarantee Kashmiris their inalienable right to self-determination. In this endeavour, Turkey could play the role of a “facilitator and mediator”, he said.
The AJK President invited Mr. Yilmaz and other leaders to the AK Party to visit Azad Kashmir.
Earlier in the day, President Masood Khan visited the Social Sciences University of Ankara and held a meeting with the Rector of the university, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Barca. During the meeting, numerous ideas for enhancing cooperation and collaboration between the public sector universities in AJK and Ankara Social Sciences University came under discussion. The proposal for the establishment of a research center aimed at the resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute was also explored.
The Rector of Ankara Social Sciences university accepted the President’s invitation to visit AJK in order to explore new avenues for cooperation in the area of higher education.
President Masood Khan also visited the Mausoleum of Gazi Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and paid rich tributes to the great leader and founding father of the Turkish Republic. The President and his delegation were also given a guided tour of the mausoleum during which they witnessed various different phases of Turkey’s War of Independence against occupation forces under the dynamic leadership of Ghazi Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Giving his impressions after the visit, President Masood Khan said that Turkey’s glorious struggle against the forces of colonization and occupation was indeed an inspiration for freedom-loving people across the world, in particular the people of Jammu & Kashmir. He said that with their indomitable spirit and determination, the people of Jammu and Kashmir would one day also free themselves from the shackles of Indian colonialism and occupation.