Turkish diplomat's view on why for Islamabad cross-border terror is not quite terror

Pakistan's Kashmir policy could be informed by an unconventional view of cross-border terrorism, at least one Turkish diplomat contended, according to a cable classified by Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara Robert Deutsch.

The cable was accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks.

Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs South Asia Head Ergin Soner “said that he sees no change in the Pakistani attitude toward cross-border terrorism,” following Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's January 2004 diplomatic visit to Turkey (13493: confidential, dated January 26, 2004).

General Musharraf's engagements in Turkey included meetings with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gul, as well as an address to Parliament, but Turkish government representatives declined “to ‘squeeze' Musharraf on cross-border terrorism,” the cable says.

Mr. Soner “opined that Pakistan does not consider it terrorism.”

‘Indirect references'

Still, “the subject of cross-border terrorism in Kashmir came up only through ‘indirect references'” during the visit, even though “Turkey and Pakistan signed an anti-terror cooperation agreement covering exchanges of information and experts,” the cable says.

“It's not Turkey's job to take it (cross-border terrorism) up with them,” it quotes Mr. Soner as saying.

However, “despite Musharraf's warm visit,” during which the Pakistan President “got full honors,” Mr. Soner said the Government of Turkey had decided to continue “a more ‘balanced' approach to the Kashmir issue” than it had “adopted after the Cold War, during which it strongly backed Pakistan.”

“Turkey needs that balance…in order to improve relations with India,” Mr. Soner said, according to the Embassy cable.

He went on to say that “India has responded by becoming ‘more supportive' of Turkey on the Cyprus issue but did not amplify his comments.”

(This article is a part of the series "The India Cables" based on the US diplomatic cables accessed by The Hindu via WikiLeaks.)