ANKARA, 28 October 2016:  Turkish academics and writers at a Panel discussion reiterated support for the oppressed people of Kashmir and urged India and the international community to take steps to resolve this long-standing dispute in accordance with the wishes of the people of Kashmir and the UN Security Council resolutions. 

The Panel discussion, “Kashmir in Global and Regional Politics”, was organized by the leading Turkish think-tank “South Asia Strategic Research Centre” (GASAM) in collaboration with Fatih Sultan Mehmet Foundation University in Istanbul on Thursday. The event was part of observation of the “Black Day” – with a view to highlighting the grave situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and expressing solidarity with the Kashmiri people facing brutalities for over six decades.  

Panellists included Mr. Ali Kurt, Secretary General of the Union of NGOs of Islamic World, Prof. Selam Öğüt, Law Faculty of Medipol University, Ms. Merve Şebnem Oruç, journalist and writer, and Mr. Mustafa Uzun, journalist and writer. Analyst and member of GASAM Aslan Balci moderated the panel. 

Mr. Muhammet Balta, Member of Turkish Parliament and Chairman of Turkey-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Group, in his keynote speech, spoke of the oppression and “extreme” human rights violations occurring in Occupied Kashmir due to excessive use of force. He urged resolution of the Kashmir dispute peacefully, in accordance with the UN resolutions, which could not be implemented so far due to India’s rigidity. He reiterated that Turkey would continue to support all efforts for a peaceful solution of Kashmir dispute.  

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Turkey Sohail Mahmood highlighted the prevailing situation in IOK and underscored the need for immediately stopping the grave human rights violations. He noted that besides continuous curfew, the occupying authorities had clamped media blackout and denial of access to human rights organizations to the area. Doctors and medical staff had been harassed, while Kashmiri political leaders were arrested or placed under detention. Ambassador Sohail reiterated that the people and Government of Pakistan would continue their political, moral and diplomatic support for the Kashmiris until a just and durable solution of the dispute was found in accordance with their wishes ascertained through a free, fair and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices. He also expressed sincere gratitude for the unflinching support of the leadership, Government and people of Turkey for the Kashmir cause.

Separately, students and faculty of Istanbul University’s Department of Urdu organized a seminar on Kashmir. The speakers highlighted the historical, political, legal and humanitarian dimensions of the issue and expressed solidarity with the Kashmiri people.