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Was Erdogan’s Kashmir proposal a planned move?



Was Erdogan’s Kashmir proposal a planned move?


The Turkish strongman’s offer to mediate in the Kashmir issue is a reflection of his strong ties with Pakistan.

By Abu Turab

The recent visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to New Delhi, with an appeal to India and Pakistan to start multilateral dialogue for resolving the Kashmir issue was overwhelmingly welcomed by the Pakistani media.

Erdogan, in his pre-visit interview to India’s WION TV channel, asked the two countries to “build bridges, strengthen dialogue between stakeholders” to resolve Kashmir dispute. It was welcomed by Pakistani press as “pleasant surprise” since, it believes, “the international community has tended to stay away from the problem”.

Erdogan reportedly said that both India and Pakistan are Turkey’s friends and they must keep the channels for dialogue open and engage different stakeholders. He said, “India is our friend in the region. Pakistan is our friend in the region. And there are certain aspects that contribute tremendously to our ancient relations. In terms of faith, in India, we have followers of the Muslim faith. And, in Pakistan, there are Muslims and this brings us even closer.

India, however, dismissed the proposal of multilateral dialogue. Gopal Baglay, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said in a veiled reference to Pakistan, that the Kashmir issue has a “prominent dimension of cross-border terrorism” that needs to be stopped by “those who are perpetuating it”. He further elaborated that “our case essentially was that Kashmir is an issue of terrorism that has dogged us for 40 years”.

Describing the reason of its opposition to multilateral dialogue, the spokesperson said, “We are ready to address any issue between India and Pakistan bilaterally through peaceful means as has been stipulated in the Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration.” India was always ready to talk about Kashmir and all other issues with Pakistan so that “peaceful solutions can be found bilaterally,” Bagley added.

The Karachi-based newspaper Dawn, in its editorial published on May 3, said “President Erdogan showed the statesman’s way forward by broaching the subject of Kashmir with the Indian media ahead of his trip to India.” It advised that “other international leaders should take their cue from the Turkish leader and demonstrate a courageous and principled stand by speaking directly to India about the need for it to move forward on the Kashmir dispute”.

The News International, another Pakistani newspaper published from Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, in its editorial, said that India’s economic and political clout has made Kashmir a diplomatic minefield and for Erdogan to try to step in, and that too he was about to embark on an important visit to India, took moral courage. It further says that Erdogan’s offer to lead international talks on Kashmir is in keeping with what he said about the disputed region while visiting Islamabad last year, where he took the position that the movement there (in Kashmir) was one of genuine liberation.

Meanwhile, Hindustan Times, in its editorial, while commenting on Erdogan’s adventurist statement on Kashmir, said  that Erdogan, a friend of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has repeatedly expressed support for Islamabad’s positions over Delhi’s, and this has come in the way of deeper ties between India and Turkey. He has also supported position of Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) in Kashmir.

It would be interesting to note that Sana Ahmed Sani, a regular author for Pakistan ka Khuda Hafiz (www.pakistankakhudahifiz.com), in her article, Historical overview of Pakistan-Turkey relations, described the issue on November 27, 2016. “Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir conflict is openly supported by Turkey. It also recognises Jammu and Kashmir as part of Pakistan and the Turkish Ambassador spent a week in the capital of Azad Kashmir (what India know as Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)), Muzaffarabad, to show Turkish solidarity with Pakistan.” She also reminded President Recep Erdogan’s recent address in Parliament when he reportedly said, “We know well the pain and problems of Kashmiris and we condemn the brutality of India in Kashmir.”

Sana further writes, “Turkey also maintained military and political support during the wars with India. …Large number of Turks volunteered to fight for Pakistan against India and a number of nurses to serve Pakistan flew in from there. In December 1965, the then President Ayub Khan visited Turkey and expressed his profound gratitude to the Turkish President Gural for the moral and material support during Indo-Pak war in 1965.”

Turkish Foreign Ministry website says, “positive reflection of the excellent bilateral relations can also be seen in the international fora.” Turkey and Pakistan are supporting each other in all international platforms. Pakistan also adopts a highly supportive approach on international matters, which are of special interest to Turkey.

Meanwhile, after his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Erdogan condemned all forms of terrorism. “Turkey will always be by the side of India in full solidarity while battling terrorism,” he said.  He condemned the recent terrorist attack on April 24 on CRPF personnel by Maoists in Sukma, Chhattisgarh.

President Erdogan said India was a strategic partner to Turkey because of its location, resources and its economy. The present trade volume between two countries is at around $6.5 billion which should be increased to at least $10 billion as soon as possible, he added. The Turkish President said the two countries will look at ways to expand cooperation in the energy and infrastructure sectors, in particular.

Similarly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during their bilateral talks, two leaders took stock of all political, economic and cultural engagements. He talked of encouraging stronger partnership of Turkish companies with Indian government’s flagship programmes.

Analysts believe that President Erdogan’s India visit at a time when Kashmir was experiencing turmoil was of utmost importance. He proposed multilateral dialogue for “resolving” Kashmir issue, which was completely against India’s longstanding policy of Kashmir being a bilateral issue. Even Pakistani media expressed pleasant surprise on Erdogan’s statement proposing multilateral dialogue on Kashmir.

It would be interesting to an eye on the progress in the bilateral economic and trade ties between the two countries. If the intention was just to rake the Kashmir issue on the international arena, then implementation of the memorandums of understanding signed during the visit will experience slow progress. Some analysts believe that Erdogan, in a desire to rise as a towering leader of the region, has thrown his hat into the most vexed issue in the region. He probably wished to project his image as a strong leader among Muslim nations.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Five news stations receive letter bombs in Ecuador, one explodes in journalist’s face

Minister says the bombs were sent as a clear message to silence journalists in violence-ridden Ecuador



Police officials searching for bombs in a new station in Ecuador

Ecuadorean authorities have reported that a series of letter bombs were mailed to five different TV and radio new stations in Ecaudor. The explosive devices were delivered to journalists on Monday, March 20.

Interior Minister Juan Zapata informed that one of these letters exploded in Guayaquil’s Ecuavisa private TV station. The bomb burst in the middle of the newsroom in presenter Lenin Artieda’s face. He was injured but not severely. Lenin informed the police that the device was structured like a USB drive, and it exploded as he plugged it into his computer.

Zapata added that all the devices were similar and sent from the town of Quimsaloma, on the Los Rios coast. The Ecuadorean attorney-general’s department has begun their investigation on the letters as an act of terrorism. Journalists have said that the bombs were sent to intimidate the free press and silence the media.

 Zapata also said that the government condemns such attacks and freedom of expression is a right that must be respected. The other four explosives sent through post never exploded as they failed or were never opened.

Police officer Xavier Chango informed the USB drive sent to Artieda seemed to be loaded with a military-type explosive RDX.

Ecuador lies between Colombia and Peru, the world’s two largest cocaine producers, and has become a hub for global drug trade in the recent years. The increased violence is a result of competition and clashes between drug criminal gangs for territory and charge.

In 2022, the RTS TV station came under gunfire attack and in 2020, a bomb exploded at Teleamazonas. President Guillermo Lasso had declared war on the gangs controlling drug trade from prisons, and has led to the death of more than 400 inmates since 2021. Ecuador’s murder rate has jumped from 14 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021 to 25 per 100,000 in 2022.

Two local gangs, the Lobos and Los Tiguerones, working with Mexico’s Jalisco New Generation cartel, have been responsible for these deadly prison riots. The Jalisco cartel is considered one of the five most dangerous criminal organizations in the world and its leader, Nemesio Oseguera, aka El Mencho, is among the most wanted by both Mexican and U.S. authorities.

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Earthquake leaves 11 dead in Pakistan, tremors shake North India

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled parts of Northern India on Tuesday night, left at least 11 people dead and over 160 others wounded in neighboring Pakistan, reports said.



Pakistan Earthquake

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled parts of Northern India on Tuesday night, left at least 11 people dead and over 160 others wounded in neighboring Pakistan, reports said.

According to reports by Pakistani media, tremors were felt in Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Peshawar, Kohat, Lakki Marwat, and other areas of the country. In a statement, Pakistan Meteorological Department said the epicenter of the quake—which hit at a depth of 180 kilometers, at a latitude of 36.09 and a longitude of 71.35. — was the seismically active Hindu Kush region in Afghanistan.

Reports said that tremors and aftershocks were also witnessed in Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Kot Momin, Madh Ranjha, Chakwal, Kohat and in Gilgit-Baltistan areas.

Pakistani news channels showed panicked citizens running out of their home and on the streets to seek refuge from the tremors.

According to a report by Pakistan-based Geo News, eleven people, including two women were killed while over 160 people were injured due to the earthquake.

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The strong jolts also led to the collapse of several buildings in impacted regions while a stamped was witnessed in markets of Rawalpindi when the earthquake hit, according to The Express Tribune newspaper.

State-run Associated Press of Pakistan released a statement by Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who has directed disaster management authorities to remain vigilant to handle any situation while Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel declared an emergency in Islamabad hospitals.

A statement by the international seismological centre said that apart from Pakistan, tremors were also felt in India, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China and Kyrgyzstan.

Tremors of the earthquake, that hit at around 10:17 pm on Tuesday night, were felt across Northern India including Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh. However, no casualties were reported. However, reports of damages to buildings are coming in from different parts of North India.

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Rupert Murdoch set to marry for 5th time at 92

Murdoch, who met 66-year-old Smith last September at an event held at Murdoch’s vineyard in California, is planning to marry her in the summer.



Rupert Murdoch Smith

Rupert Murdoch, an Australian-born American business magnate, announced on Monday that he will be marrying for the fifth time at the age of 92. Murdoch is already engaged to former San Francisco police chaplain Ann Lesley Smith.

Talking about his fifth marriage, Murdoch, the 31st richest person in the United States, said he was very nervous, and dreaded falling in love, but he knew it would be his last. He said he is happy about it.

Murdoch, who met 66-year-old Smith last September at an event held at Murdoch’s vineyard in California, is planning to marry her in the summer. He said that they both are looking forward to spending the second half of their lives together. They will spend their time between California, the UK, Montana and New York, reports state.

Smith is the widow of an American country singer and media executive who died in 2008. Speaking about the relationship with Murdoch, Smith said the two bonded over their shared knowledge of the media business.

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She said for both of them it’s a gift from God. She said she is a widow for 14 years. Smith went on to say that like Rupert, her husband was a businessman. Worked for local papers, developed radio and TV stations, and helped promote Univision. So she speaks Rupert’s language. They share the same beliefs, she added.

Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corp., has six children from his first three marriages. Prudence MacLeod, with his first wife Patricia Booker, then Elisabeth and sons Lachlan and James with his second wife Anna Mann. He has two more daughters, Grace and Chloe, with his third wife Wendi Deng.

Later, he married former supermodel Jerry Hall for the fourth time. But the couple decided to part ways eight months ago after being together for six years.

According to Forbes, Murdoch is believed to have a fortune of around $17 billion. His empire includes Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and a string of other media assets around the world.

Rahul Gandhi says he won’t be intimidated days after Delhi Police search his residence

Traffic chaos as rain lashes Delhi NCR, more showers forecast tomorrow

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