India-Turkey Relations

Important excerpts from The Hindu:

  • The government has decided to put off a proposed visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Ankara as part of a number of measures showing its displeasure over Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last month, in which he criticised its move on Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir.
  • India’s sharp criticism of Ankara’s military operations in Syria this week, as well as an “expected” decision to cancel the selection of Turkey’s Anadolu Shipyard for building naval support ships, followed its “unhappiness” over Turkey’s stand on Kashmir. Official sources also confirmed to The Hindu that the $2.3 billion tender granted to Turkey’s Anadolu Shipyard earlier this year to help build five 45,000-tonne fleet support ships for the Hindustan Shipyard Limited is likely to cancelled. Rules for local procurement and security concerns over Anadolu’s work for the Pakistan navy were reasons for the likely cancellation, diplomatic sources said Turkey’s recent statements and its support for Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force on terror financing were also considered.
  • Turkey too has other issues like the presence of Fethullah Gulen- affiliated terror groups in India… but we don’t bring that vertical on top of all other bilateral relations,” he said.
  • Pointing to the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India last week, despite Beijing’s criticism of the government over Kashmir actions, he said it was a proof that India worked in various “verticals”.
  • Turkey has traditionally had close relations with Pakistan going back to their common membership of the Central Treaty Organization and the Regional Cooperation for Development. Ankara has almost always endorsed Pakistan’s position on Kashmir. Both are also members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which in its resolutions has traditionally supported Pakistan on this issue. Furthermore, Turkey has not been alone in criticising the Indian government’s move. It should also be noted that as its economic relations with India had grown, Turkey had moderated its support for Pakistan until New Delhi’s move in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • New Delhi should learn to isolate contentious issues and not let them dictate the overall tenor of bilateral relations especially in the case of the two pivotal powers in West Asia — Turkey and Iran.
  • This leaves Turkey and Iran, in addition to Israel, as the only serious players in West Asia. Both Ankara and Tehran have the technological capacity to attain nuclear weapons capability that will add to their clout in the region. It will be unwise for India to alienate one or both in a pique over isolated incidents. Such incidents ought to be quarantined so as not to affect India’s overall relationship with the two pivotal powers in the region.