ANKARA, 23 July 2016:  While condemning the recent spate of violence and oppression unleashed by the security forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, Turkey’s traditional support for the just cause of Kashmir has been strongly reaffirmed. Turkish dignitaries and Speakers at a vigil organized by the Embassy of Pakistan in Ankara on Friday reiterated Turkey’s abiding commitment in this regard. The event was part of ‘Black Day’ commemorations to protest against the atrocities committed against the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir and to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people.

Addressing the participants, Prof. Dr. Oya Akgönenç, a noted academic and former member of Turkish Parliament, stated that the world was saddened by the news of martyrdom of Burhan Wani. She condemned the use of brutal force by the Indian forces against the innocent Kashmiris who were protesting against the recent killing spree in Occupied Kashmir. “We condemn this lawlessness and unabated violence and harassment of innocent Kashmiris which is the violation of human rights and international law,” she added.

Mr. Muhammet Balta, Member of Turkish Parliament from Trabzon and Chairman of Turkey-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Group, in his speech, said Turkey supports Pakistan’s stance since 1947.  “On this ‘Black Day,’ Turkey once again renews the commitment to support the resolution of Kashmir according to the wishes of Kashmiri people,” Balta said. He also underlined the desire to impart enhanced strength and vitality to close fraternal cooperation between Turkey and Pakistan in all fields.

Mr. Burhan Kayaturk, Member of Parliament from Van and Chairman of Turkey-Pakistan Cultural Association, said shaheed Burhan Wani was not a threat to humanity, but was the voice of young Kashmiris demanding the universally recognized right to self-determination as promised to them by India itself. Mr. Kayaturk called upon the United Nations to implement its resolutions on Kashmir, which promised the Kashmiri people to determine their future through a free and impartial plebiscite.

In his remarks on the occasion, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Turkey Sohail Mahmood highlighted the untold sufferings of the Kashmiri people in the wake of excessive and indiscriminate use of force by the occupying forces against women, children and elderly – resulting in the martyrdom of nearly 50 Kashmiris, injuries to over 3,500, and permanent blindness for over 70 youth. He added that the Kashmiris were being punished for demanding their inalienable right to self-determination, which was promised to them 70 years ago.

Ambassador Sohail expressed the hope that the international community would take cognizance of the grave human rights violations taking place against innocent, unarmed protestors in occupied Kashmir, which had already been noted by the UN Secretary General and the OIC and they had expressed their concern. Along with taking steps to help address the current situation in occupied Kashmir, Ambassador Sohail expressed the hope that the world community would also play its rightful role in promoting a just, peaceful and durable solution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people. The Ambassador also expressed sincere gratitude for the unflinching support of the people and Government of Turkey for the cause of Kashmir.

The event concluded with the lighting of candles by all the participants, commemorating the Kashmiri martyrs and pledging abiding support for the just cause of the Kashmiri people.

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