Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his day-long visit to India extended "full solidarity" with India in battling terrorism. After extensive talks with Erdogan, in which the fight against terrorism formed a major part, prime minister Narendra Modi said both the countries have agreed that "no intent or goal, no reason or rationale can validate terrorism".
Modi said that he and Erdogan "agreed to work together to strengthen our cooperation, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to effectively counter this menace." During the talks, which extended by nearly two hours beyond the scheduled 60 minutes, India and Turkey agreed to boost bilateral trade from the current level of just over $6 billion and expressed the resolve to fight the global menace of terrorism together.
"(The) president and I are clear that the strength of our economies presents an enormous opportunity to expand and deepen commercial linkages between our countries," Modi said while addressing the media. The prime minister said that at the level of the two governments, "we need to approach the entire landscape of business opportunities in a strategic and long-term manner". "India and Turkey are two large economies," he stated. "Our bilateral trade turnover of around $6 billion does not do full justice to convergences in our economies. Clearly, the business and industry on both sides can do much more."
Diplomatic pleasantries, signing of agreements aside, Erdogan remarked that India should ideally be taking a 'multilateral' approach to hot button issue of Kashmir, however, India politely, but firmly said that Kashmir was a bilateral issue to be sorted out by India and Pakistan only. Neither of the press representatives mentioned any of this in the official press briefings. However press in Pakistan reported favourably about Erdogan's comments. The News International reported that "Pakistan has always welcomed the statements and endeavours aimed at addressing the human rights issues in IoK (the so-called India-occupied Kashmir) and the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, the statement concluded."
In view of all this, it is important to remember that Turkey's relations with the West are not optimal — according to this earlier Firstpost article, "Turkey’s relation with Russia, China and India is qualitatively improving Turkey’s earlier 'West-centric' foreign policy towards a 'multidimensional foreign policy'."
The meeting between Modi and Erdogan was widely reported in Turkish daily Daily Sabah and commentary and opinion touched upon the future of India-Turkey relations, the kind of stability it would bring to West Asia. The paper also carried an interesting taking on the recent bilateral meeting — it brought out the Israel angle which most media in India failed to touch upon. Daily Sabah in an op-ed titled, 'Turkish-Indian relations and the Israeli angle' noted in one particular article that Israel is a key aspect for the India-Turkey relations as Turkey's move towards India has come after Turkey signing a reconciliation deal on 27 June, 2016 with Israel.
The piece also noted that there is a visible move towards "openness and comfort" between India and Israel in discussing all facets of bilateral relations and said that India should take advantage of the warming relations between Turkey and Israel and enhance cooperation among its West Asian partners.
However, at the time of writing neither American, British nor Russian newspapers like Sputnik News, Russia Today, The Moscow Times had lent much coverage to the event. In West Asia, The Khaleej Times, Gulf News also had minimal coverage and did not generate any commentary as such.
With inputs from IANS
Published Date: May 02, 2017 12:28 PM | Updated Date: May 02, 2017 12:28 PM