ANKARA: The deputy speaker of Turkey’s parliament on Monday voiced support for Pakistan over the Kashmir issue . In a meeting with Shah Ghulam Qadir, the speaker of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly, Ahmet Aydin said that Turkey is closely following the troubles of Muslims in the disputed region.
Aydin called on Pakistan and India to find a solution to Kashmir dispute in line with UN resolutions. "We favour reaching a solution through dialogue between Pakistan and India in line with UN resolutions in light of the legitimate demands of the Kashmiri people," said Aydin. Aydin added that the issue has been affecting both the welfare of the Kashmiri people and stability in the region for 70 years.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since India and Pakistan were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965, and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir. Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region. Shah Ghulam Qadir highlighted Turkey's ongoing support for the Kashmiri people, saying, "Turkey has always backed us in our dark days." Qadir proposed the formation of a Turkey-Kashmir inter-parliamentary friendship group.