Turkey is an Islamic country bridging Europe and Asia. It is a developing country and is the twentieth largest in the world by nominal GDP and the eleventh-largest by PPP. It is a founding member of the Organization of Islamic Countries. India’s relations with Turkey were established in 1948. Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to India in 2008 and then Turkish President Abdullah Gul to India in 2010. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi attended the G20 Summit held in Antalya on 15-16 November 2015 on the margins of the Summit, the Prime Minister had bilateral talks with President Erdogan.
President Erdogan paid a state visit to India from 30 April -1 May 2017. A high-level delegation and a 150-strong business delegation accompanied him. President Erdogan was conferred an honorary degree by Jamia Milia Islamia University. Five bilateral agreements were signed during the visit. India’s economic engagement with Turkey saw new momentum. Bilateral trade grew 22% to cross US$8.6 billion in 2018.
However, the relations between the Two Countries divulged after Turkey first raised the Kashmir issue at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2019. When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Pakistan in February 2020, he again spoke about Kashmir. Turkey is also one of the few countries (along with Malaysia and China) that supports Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), allowing Pakistan to escape being placed on the FATF blacklist for terror funding. Turkey’s support to Pakistan over Kashmir is a part of its attempt to counter Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and Turkey are rivals in the Muslim world and by backing Pakistan, Turkey hopes Islamabad will side with Ankara and move away from Saudi Arabia.
Along with this, there are other factors like first, political divergences between Ankara and New Delhi began when India was excluded from the Turkey-led dialogue on Afghanistan in 2010. Second, Turkey’s attempts to block India’s membership in the Nuclear Supplier’s Group (NSG). Third, the issue of the Gülen Movement, which Ankara declared as a terrorist organization in May 2016. The Turkish government put pressure on the Indian government to close Gülen schools in Delhi and elsewhere. Fourthly, rise in defence ties between Turkey and Pakistan. Last, President Erdoğan is speaking a language similar to Pakistan without understanding the unity and diversity of India, its culture, and history.
Is Turkey the noble nation and is it speaking a language of conciliation? If we see Turkey’s past and present history, it is really horrible and scary. Turkey has committed the most inhuman Armenian genocide where over 1.5 Million Armenian, Assyrian and Pontic Greek subjects were deprived of food and water and subjected to robbery, rape, and massacre. Armenian women and children were forcibly converted to Islam and integrated into Muslim households. Massacres and ethnic cleansing of Armenian survivors were carried out by the Turkish nationalist movement. 33 Nations, including the US, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Russia, Brazil, have formally recognized the Armenian genocide. On 10 Mar 2017 United Nations accused Turkey of massive destruction, killings & many other serious human rights violations against 15% of its Kurdish minority. Turkey is killing its own people and is using aerial bombardments, torture, forced displacements, destroy villages, arbitrary arrests, murder disappeared Kurdish journalists, activists & politicians.
India is also responding to the nefarious design of Turkey. When Erdogan raised the Kashmir issue at the UNGA, Prime Minister Narendra Modi responded by holding meetings with the president of Cyprus, Prime Ministers of Armenia and Greece on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly earlier. All these states have various disputes with Turkey. Later, in October 2019, Modi cancelled his visit to Turkey and a lucrative $2.3 billion naval deal with a Turkish defence company. India cut its defence exports to Turkey and also reduced imports from Turkey. India also condemned Turkey’s military operation in Northern Syria in October 2019. Recently, when Erdogan again raised the Kashmir issue during his visit to Pakistan, India said, “These remarks reflect neither an understanding of history nor of the conduct of diplomacy. They distort events of the past to advance a narrow-minded view of the present”; and warned, “These developments have strong implications for our bilateral relationship.” Turkey should not interfere in India’s internal matters and become a pawn of Pakistan by speaking its language.
Meanwhile, India pushed forward its relations with Armenia. Recently, India secured a $40 million defence deal with Armenia. As per the deal, India will be supplying Armenia with four weapons locating radars. India is standing with Cyprus. Cyprus remains divided over the competing interests of majority Greek Cypriots and citizens of Turkish descent. Cyprus is an internationally recognized nation and a member of the European Union. On the other hand, Turkey is the only nation to recognize the breakaway self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and support an extremist regime. The international community and the UN Security Council condemned the proclamation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in 1983; the proclamation was declared to be invalid. Turkey's interest lies in either a two-state solution to the ethnically divided island nation or the annexation of the Turkish dominated regions. The recent discovery of oil in the region gives it additional incentive. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held a bilateral meeting with his Cyprus counterpart Nikos Christodoulides and said Turkey's relevant UN Security Council resolutions in respect of Cyprus are adhered to by all.
Finally, one can say that India wants a peaceful global world, excluding jihadis, cross border terrorists and non-state actors. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his party, the AKP, has often been described as Islamist and authoritarian who is following the same old genocide policy against minority and its own people. If a country like Turkey sides with Pakistan and starts supporting the acts of Lashkar E Taiba, Jamaat Ud Dawa, Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS, India can't help but fight them with full power. India looks at its foreign relations from the point of view of nation-states rather than religious communities. India has been implementing this stance by forging close ties with Saudi Arabia, UAE and many Middle East Nations. If any nation thinks they can penetrate the country’s populous minority and use the India network for Jihadi’s benefit, it is their foolishness, Reality is Kings, Empires, Rulers came and disappeared, but the Nation of India always remains permanent and will move ahead…..