UPDATE – ‘Kashmir as important to Turkey as it is to Pakistan’

– Turkey will continue supporting Pakistan’s fight against terrorism, president tells Pakistan’s parliament in historic speech

UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS FROM ERDOGAN

By Sibel Morrow and Faruk Zorlu

ANKARA (AA) – The issue of Kashmir is as important to Turkey as it is to Pakistan, Turkey’s president said on Monday.

“We have never forgotten and will never forget the help, which the Pakistani people extended, by sharing their own bread during our War of Independence. And now, Kashmir is and will be the same for us. It was Canakkale yesterday and it is Kashmir today, [there is] no difference,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament during his official visit to the country.

Erdogan told how Turkey raised the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly last fall.

He said the suffering of the Kashmiri people had grown more severe due to “unilateral steps” in the recent years.

“This approach, which aggravates the current situation and revokes the freedom and vested rights of the Kashmiri people, does not benefit anyone,” Erdogan said and added: “The Kashmir problem can be solved not by conflict or oppression, but on the basis of justice and equity.”

His remarks come some seven months into a lockdown on Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian-administered section of the disputed Kashmir region, a move widely decried by human rights groups as well as the global Islamic community.

Jammu and Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

In his record fourth address to Pakistan’s parliament, Erdogan also addressed the situation in Idlib, northwestern Syria, saying that Turkey's latest steps in the province’s de-escalation zone are meant to prevent the Assad regime from killing 4 million oppressed people using barrel bombs.

Pakistan stands with Turkey’s righteous cause, despite others who work to protect terrorists, he said, referring to Turkey’s anti-terrorist Operation Peace Spring, launched last October, in northwestern Syria.

– Turkey to support Pakistan's counter-terror efforts

“Turkey will continue supporting Pakistan in its fight against terrorism,” he added.

Erdogan also said Turkey would support Pakistan against the application of political pressure by the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The international watchdog against money laundering and financing of terrorism FATF has put Pakistan on its grey list for jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies.

Turkey, Malaysia, and China have been 3 main countries that have been supporting Pakistan to move out of the FATF grey list.

The international watchdog against money laundering and financing of terrorism FATF has put Pakistan on its grey list for “jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies”.

Turkey, Malaysia, and China have been 3 main countries that have been supporting Pakistan to move out of the FATF grey list.

On the so-called Deal of the Century on Jerusalem, announced last month by U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House to widespread condemnation, Erdogan blasted the plan as “an occupation project.”