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OIC meet on Kashmir finds support from Turkey, Azerbaijan

Kashmiri protestors clash with police during a protest in Srinagar. File photo: Nissar Ahmad  

The OIC contact group on Jammu and Kashmir which held a special meet at New York, did not take note of the attack in Uri. Official sources however told The Hindu that they have noted the strong support that Turkey and Azerbaijan extended to Pakistan during the meet which called for “cessation of violence” in Kashmir.

The meeting was attended by the member countries of OIC where Pakistan was represented by Sartaj Aziz, Advisor on Foreign Affairs of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Ministry of External Affairs is yet to formally respond to the staunch support extended by Turkey and Azerbaijan to Pakistan during the meet which criticised India.

“The Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Turkey expressed grave concern at the deteriorating situation in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. They also expressed serious concern at the serious human rights violations perpetrated by India against the innocent Kashmiris. The Foreign Minister of Turkey emphasized the urgency of resolving the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, especially in the wake of the recent events,” (sic) said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan and added, “The Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan stated that OIC should think of innovative means to highlight the human rights violations happening in the Indian occupied Kashmir”.

Turkey’s support to Pakistan’s high decibel campaign is a surprise especially since Turkish foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu paid a visit to India in August and held extensive discussion on common areas of concern. Turkey had asked India to close down several schools and institutions with ties with the Gulenist movement that Turkey holds responsible for the July 16 failed coup attempt.

Azerbaijan’s support to Pakistan’s position has also raised eyebrows as India maintained regular diplomatic contact with the country and sent out the Secretary (West) Sujata Mehta to the oil rich country in July.

India had been reaching out to influential countries in West Asia in recent months to convince them of the Indian counter terror campaign. Accordingly, Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar had travelled last month in West Asia. Similar outreaches to several OIC member countries were also carried out.

The OIC was founded in 1969 is a 57-member organisation which traditionally supports the right of self determination. However, the organisation has been divided due to differences among major members like Iran and Saudi Arabia. The current Secretary General of OIC is Iyad Ameen Madani who has been working with Pakistan to highlight the Kashmir issue.