Kashmiri officials have said that Turkey's support for a solution to the decades-old land dispute in Jammu and Kashmir is vital, calling on the implementation of a referendum proposed by the United Nations to decide the fate of the region.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suggested during his visit to India in 2017 strengthening multilateral dialogue, "in which Turkey can be involved," adding that the problem could be settled through such multilateral discussion.
While his offer to assist in solving the dispute by further improving dialogue between the two states was welcomed by Pakistan, India rejected the involvement of a third-party actor.
Mehmood Ahmed Saghar, vice president of the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party, told Daily Sabah that they support a political solution in the region in a multilateral extent, indicating Kashmiris should decide their own fate according to U.N. resolutions on the issue.
"There are four parties involved; the Kashmiri people, India, Pakistan and the U.N. These four parties should sit around a table and find a solution which would let Kashmiris to decide their own future, whether they want to join India or Pakistan, or become an independent country," Saghar said.
He added that they don't need "conflict management" as offered by some countries, but need a concrete resolution in Kashmir.
The Kashmir dispute, one of the oldest on the agenda of the U.N. Security Council, along with Palestine, erupted between India and Pakistan in 1947. The U.N. Security Council called for a referendum to decide the region's fate in 1948. While India says elections held in territories controlled by administration backed by New Delhi, which decided to back accession to India, makes a referendum unnecessary, the U.N. and Pakistan say a referendum needs to take into account the views of voters throughout the former princely state.
Syed Faiz Naqshbandi, convener from the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), said Kashmiri people are thankful to the Turkish government for its willingness to seek a solution for the dispute, calling for implementation of the referendum decision taken by the U.N. Security Council and the establishment of a group by the U.N. to investigate the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
"Erdoğan has mentioned the Jammu and Kashmir dispute on many platforms, including international meetings such as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation [OIC]. We are sure that Turkey will try its utmost for resolution of this issue," he said.