Turkey Has a Major Role to Play in a Kashmir Peace Process

Indian politicians can shout all they want about Pakistan “supporting terrorism”, but this defamatory and inflammatory untruth is being rejected by millions of objective observers who realise that Indian occupied Kashmir has become a cauldron of disquiet in which indigenous extremism will continue to grow until and unless the Kashmiri people are allowed to engage in a democratic vote on self-determination as is mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 47. Such a vote would forever settle the injustices wrought upon a Kashmiri people who remain slaves to the poor decisions of the past, whist India disallows them agency over their future.

This internal conflict has however led to multiple wars, skirmishes and political conflicts between India and Pakistan and now that the world has at long last realised that as two nuclear powers, a further major India-Pakistan war could have major global implications, many are now working to de-escalate the present conflict.

First of all, when speaking in Hanoi after meeting with DPRK leader Kim Jong-un, Donald Trump stated that he believed that American input had helped to retard the possibility of an all-out war, at least for the time being. Shortly thereafter, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that if both India and Pakistan agree, Russia will act as a mediator in the current crisis. Turkey has likewise offered to help mediate tensions whilst also demonstrating a calm but firm solidarity with Pakistan in the face of Indian aggression. In this respect, there is a clear model wherein Russo-Turkish cooperation has led to the de-escalation of another major conflict zone.

Whilst the war in Syria once threatened to destroy one state and destabilise several others, today, the war in Syria has become something of a “managed conflict”. This is the result of multiple nations but particularly the Astana trio of Turkey, Russia and Iran working to implement a comprehensive peace process.

The success of the Astana trio has in particular, focused attention on the modern partnership between Russia and Turkey. The former regional rivals have been able to work past both real and perceived differences in order to help create a sense of balance, calm and stability in Syria. These efforts by Turkey and Russia ought to be applauded from all sides as they have clearly mapped out Syria’s path to a permanent peace in the aftermath of an eight year long conflict.

As such, Turkey and Russia would be ideal partners in an effort to once and for all, implement a peace process for Kashmir – one that not only defuses India-Pakistan tensions, but more importantly, delivers justice to Kashmiris, so that the main source of India-Pakistan tensions is forever put to rest. Russia’s Cold War partnership with India and Turkey’s fraternal relationship with Pakistan would help create a sense of balance among a possible Russo-Turkish mediation team. Likewise, as in the 21st century, both Turkey and Russia have a foreign policy that seeks to achieve balance among multiple diverse global partners, Russia and Turkey are likewise in a position to offer realistic, pragmatic and ethical solutions to an erstwhile nonnegotiable conflict.

As Pakistan’s government has called for talks, it remains only to be seen what India will do, now that major powers have put themselves forward as mediators. Moreover, the larger a quorum of nations that are involved in peace talks, the better a chance there will be in respect of securing a positive outcome. This is why countries like Saudi Arabia (that has poor relations with Turkey, excellent relations with Pakistan and vastly expanding relations with India) as well as China (a nation with excellent relations with Pakistan and Russia, whilst often having troubled relations with India), should also be at the table.

Taken as a whole, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation + Turkey and possibly also + Saudi Arabia, could represent a holistic team of mediators that each approach the subject from a distinct perspective, but which nevertheless could demonstrate that from the Pacific to the Mediterranean, the countries that bookend south Asia seek peace in Kashmir. Because peace in Kashmir is the true path to permanent de-escalation between India and Pakistan – such a holistic peace format could help to settle not just the specific causes of current tensions, but could address the root cause of 72 years of tensions.

When it comes to two countries with a proven track record of de-escalating the situation in Syria, Turkey and Russia have shown that a mature leadership exists which can withstand even the most difficult of geopolitical and military situations. Therefore, now that Pakistan has accepted Russia’s offer to mediate in the conflict, Turkey is well placed to join with Russia in an effort to bring a wider peace to the region.

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