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India, Turkey have always been against unilateral sanctions

Both are suffering from trade wars which neither ignited. Other promising fields of cooperation between India and Turkey are Africa and the Indian Ocean Region.

ET CONTRIBUTORS|
Jul 15, 2019, 09.23 AM IST
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On June 29, in Osaka, the leaders of both nations once again met, on the margins of the G-20 Summit.
By Sakir Ozkan Torunlar

Turkey’s decision to buy S-400 defence system like India reflects that both countries with strong governments in power are putting their national interests

on top and going ahead. Turkey and India have always been against unilateral sanctions dictated by any country, while supporting only of the UN’s. Because of this, there are attempts to penalise both, be it their defence or energy needs. Both governments are strong supporters of anti-protectionism.

Both are suffering from trade wars which neither ignited. Other promising fields of cooperation between India and Turkey are Africa and the Indian Ocean Region.

Both countries are exploring a mechanism of benefiting from each other’s experience in these geographies.

The recent Osaka meeting gave fresh opportunity to PM Narendra Modi and President Erdogan to review all possible areas of bilateral cooperation that need to be prioritised. Their social media messages following the meeting were crystal clear.

On July 15, Turks will remember the third anniversary of a terrorist coup attempt on their democracy, orchestrated from the other coast of Atlantic – 251 civilians were run an over by tanks of terrorists in military uniforms.

More than 2,500 were wounded, mostly in Istanbul and Ankara, the capital. The terrorists grabbed the fighters of air force, bombed the parliament, army and police headquarters while another wing tried to abduct the President and his family.

It was FETO, Fetullahist Terrorist Organization, who sneaked silently into the corridors of the state, including armed forces, judiciary and police in the past 30 years.

The nation woke up to the unfortunate reality in less than 12 hours.

When dust was still in the air, it was Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the leader of the greatest democracy, who tried to reach President Erdogan on phone to extend India’s solidarity with Turkish democracy.

“Democracy lovers” of the West kept silent for weeks.

Since then, Turkey has been healing its wounds. Most of the perpetrators were arrested and jailed after fair tribunals.

Those who fled were granted shelter by “democracies”.

During the past six years of my diplomatic career of 36 years, I have been dealing with India-Turkey bilateral relations. Today, I am proud to say that both countries are enjoying the best times of their relations.

On June 29, in Osaka, the leaders of both nations once again met, on the margins of the G-20 Summit. Since they first met in November 2015, at Antalya G-20 summit, chemistry between them reached to new heights.

The state visit of Recep Tayy-demoip Erdogan, President of Turkey to India in 2017 was a milestone. Erdogan, accompanied by a 400-strong delegation, held fruitful talks with the Indian leadership. After the visit, bilateral trade rose from $6.4 billion to $8.7 billion.

Indians and Turks share a common culture, history and values.

Both got their independence after paying heavy prices to colonialism.

2019 is the centennial of occupation of Western Turkey by the allies of those behind Jallianwala Bagh. Today, both Turkey and India are members of G-20. India and Turkey are both on the same page on terrorism. On February 14, Ankara was among the first capitals which immediately and strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Pulwama.

(The author is the ambassador of Turkey in India)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www.economictimes.com.)
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