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Transcript of Media Briefing on visit of President of Turkey by Official Spokesperson (May 1, 2017)

May 02, 2017

Official Spokesperson, Shri Gopal Baglay: Aap logon ka bahut bahut dhaywaad aur swaagat yahaan aane ke liye.

Good afternoon and thank you every one for turning up at a rather short notice. I am here to brief you today on the ongoing visit of the President of the Republic of Turkey. Normally as you know I conduct such briefings and they are given by the concerned Secretary or the Joint Secretary, but it is an ongoing visit as you know. There are still engagements in which presence of my colleagues is required.

This visit is an important bilateral visit and you have deadlines to catch for filing so if you were to wait for their presence we would had to delay this briefing beyond 7:00 or 7:30 pm and that might not have been a beneficial proposition for you and it won’t serve the purpose, so here I am. I gave this long background so that you should not wonder which I am not accompanied by other normal component of MEA colleagues.

I would being by saying that it’s a very important bilateral visit. President Erdoğan had come to India earlier in 2008 but at that time he was Prime Minister and the current leaders, the Prime Minister and the President had met twice after our Prime Minister came into power. I think they met first in G20 in Turkey and then they met last year.

Both India and Turkey are members of G20, they are growing economies, they are stable economies with strong fundamentals and as such they have common interests not merely in their own economic growth but also in the global economic order. There is a lot of interest in Turkey especially from the perspective of promoting trade and economic cooperation with India but also to broaden the overall bilateral relationship.

As I mentioned leaders had met twice already. There are economic opportunities created in India under the present government as a result of economic reforms and the thrust on transformational changes in Indian economy. So those opportunities have been noticed and this forms the context.

The significance of both the economies as large economies, both being G20 economies, the interaction between the leaders previously and also the significance of the economic opportunities created in India for broadening and consolidating the economic partnership between the two countries.

The President of Turkey arrived yesterday. He is accompanied by the First Lady Madam Erdoğan and there are five cabinet ministers namely Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Economy, Minister of Energy, Minister of Culture & Tourism and Minister of Transport, Communication and Maritime Affairs in the delegation of President of Turkey.

Besides these ministers, Chief of General Staff, Parliamentarians and Senior Officials are also accompanying. This is very indicative of the thrust of this visit. There is about 200 strong business delegation accompanying the President.

In the morning, as is customary for the state visits, the President was accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhawan, which he very much appreciated. He paid homage to the Father of Nation at Rajghat and I must say that he referred to the Father of Nation in his conversation with our leadership a few times. You might have heard his remarks as well.

Our Rashtrapati Ji will be meeting President of Turkey later and will be hosting a banquet in his honor. Meeting with Vice President is perhaps ongoing or may be about to begin. The External Affairs Minister called on the visiting dignitary today forenoon.

As I mentioned the business forum event is one of the highlights of this visit. A strong business delegation is indicative of the focus and significance attached by both the countries to consolidating trade and economic relations.

Currently the trade between the two nations is about USD 6.4 billion, which incidentally when President Erdoğan came as Prime Minister in 2008 was around USD 2.5 billion or so and hence in the past few years the increase in trade has been around two and half times. The leaders have agreed to raise this trade to USD 10 billion.

The visit of the President provided this very important opportunity for the business leaders and the captains of the industry from both the countries to interact with each other. As you are aware the President of Turkey as well as the Prime Minister addressed the India-Turkey Business Forum which took place in the morning and in fact the business meetings are still going on.

You would have heard what the President of Turkey and our Prime Minister said there, those remarks are already in the public domain so I am not going to dwell on them. It would suffice to say that there is a very great realization of economic opportunities and the urgency to use those opportunities for promoting mutually beneficial trade and commercial ties.

I have mentioned to you about the target of USD 10 billion. Turkish President evinced keen interest in government’s flagship programs and Turkey’s participation in them. He specifically mentioned the participation in Make in India program and also in the 100 Smart Cities program.

Our Prime Minister mentioned to him that the requirements that we have and the competency that we have as well as the competencies and strengths of Turkey economy make us natural partners. So this is a very good platform for us to develop.

Then there is the hope expressed by our Prime Minister that the Turkish companies will be very active and will be able to tap into the opportunities provided by the Indian economy. You would have heard the Prime Minister say in his press statement that he would welcome the participation of Turkey in these opportunities with open arms.

There was also discussion on promoting tourism and people-to-people contacts because not merely for the purpose of tourism but people, as the President of Turkey also mentioned, are very important, they are the vehicles of culture. India and Turkey share a very deep rooted, historical, cultural relationship going back to millennia and people and interaction between the people of both countries both form key part of this cultural and historical relationship.

There was conversation on expanding tourism, on promoting films. The strength of Indian film industry was mentioned and not only Hindi films but also regional films which are global blockbusters. The opportunities offered by the Turkish entertainment industry which also produces products which are very popular and commercially very successful. It was agreed that there is a great opportunity in promoting tourism and cooperation in cultural and entertainment sector.

The visit of the President to India also has provided, obviously there will be discussions with the President and the Vice President also but so far it has provided an opportunity to exchange views between the two countries at a high level on global developments, on international situations and on the situations in both our regions.

These type of conversations help to promote better understanding and encourage more convergence of views on matters of mutual interest. There was a long and detailed discussion on terrorism. You have seen the Prime Minister’s press statement and I would like to point out that the Prime Minister mentioned that he and President Erdoğan agreed to work together to strengthen the cooperation between India and Turkey, both bilaterally and multilaterally to effectively counter the menace of terrorism.

The Prime Minister also mentioned that the leaders agreed that no intent or goal, no reason or rationale can validate terrorism. Nations of the world need to work as one to disrupt terrorism network and their financing and put a stop to cross-border movement of terrorists.

They need to stand and act against those who conceive and create, support and sustain, shelter and spread these instruments and ideologies of violence. So there was a very significant and detailed conversation on terrorism. You would also see the joint statement which we will issue later on in the evening once the official engagements are over.

I can tell you from the readouts of the meetings that I have that leaders reiterated their strong condemnation and resolute opposition to terrorism in all forms and manifestations, wherever committed and by whomever committed. The leaders also urged all countries and entities to work sincerely to disrupt terrorist networks and financing and stop cross border movement of terrorism.

They also strongly condemned the use of double standards in addressing the menace of terrorism and agreed to strengthen cooperation in combating terrorism. This I have covered both bilaterally and multilaterally. They called for early conclusion of negotiations on CCIT (Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism).

The Prime Minister thanked the visiting dignitary for the support of Turkey to India, because there is a convergence of our views on UNSC reforms, Turkey’s support to India’s membership of MTCR and for our aspirations to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Also for Turkey’s support to India’s membership of Wassenaar Arrangement.

The visiting dignitary has extended an invitation to the Prime Minister to visit Turkey which has been accepted and as you know the dates have to be finalized through diplomatic channels as per mutual convenience. Before I conclude I would mention that the agreements or MoUs that have been signed are in public domain and you would be aware about them.

That brings me to the close of what I had to mention to you in terms of the readout that I have from the official engagements so far. I will be very happy to answer a couple of questions that you might have.

Question:Kya dono netaon ke beech mein Kashmir ko lekar koi baat hui? kyunki Turkey ke President Kashmir ko lekar jo stand rakhte hain aur jis tarah se Pakistan ko support karte hain, us Pakistan ko jiski army ne aaj Indian army ke do jawanon ke saath barbartapoorna karyvaahi ki hai

Question: Was FTA between India and Turkey discussed because in the morning business meet, the Turkish President did mention about the Foreign Trade Agreement?

Question: There was also discussions on lack of investments that India is doing in Turkey that President raised during the meeting in the morning. Also anything on NSG?

Question: There was no specific mention of India’s bid to NSG membership and Turkey supporting it, either in the PM’s statement or in the President’s statement made at Hyderabad House, why was there no reference to India’s NSG membership bid? And the terror aspect that you mentioned just now in the read out, that both the nations condemn terror but it seems as if they had a very different view of things because the PM spoke about cross-border terror and the Turkish President spoke about FETO but there was little else by way of convergence.

Question: This is not about the Turkish President visit. Anything on BAT team of Pakistan attacking our two soldiers?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Gopal Baglay: As I mentioned in the beginning this briefing is about the Turkish President’s visit. Let me remain focused on this. I understand your question but may be on another occasion.

Question: Were there any specific corporate deals between companies that can be announced?

Question: What assurance India has given on FETO to Turkish President?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Gopal Baglay:Not necessarily in the order in which it was asked.

On NSG, I think I mentioned quite clearly that the Prime Minister thanked President of Turkey because Turkey is supportive of our aspirations, they support India’s membership of NSG.

Question: Inaudible……..

Official Spokesperson, Shri Gopal Baglay:Because you haven’t yet seen all the statements which are usually issued. Till the time the joint statement is issued I can’t say anything further.

On corporate deals, I am not aware of any specific deals worked out because as you know I had been the official engagements between the dignitaries but as you know the India-Turkey Business Forum was inaugurated by both the leaders in the morning and the form actually continuing through the day.

It’s a very strong business delegation of 200 business leaders. They have met the Indian business leaders and industry captains and I can tell you from the feedback that I have is that there is enormous interest and potential on both sides. So it is our hope that there will be very encouraging outcomes but at this moment I don’t have specific details.

On FTA, I am not aware whether it specifically figured, I will have to check it out but as I mentioned the context of the visit that I put forward to you in the beginning of my statement is to broad base and expand the economic relationship and cooperation between the two countries.

Obviously the legal framework for that are important and the two leaders agreed on the meeting of India-Turkey Joint Economic Cooperation Commission which is a very important mechanism. So I am sure the two sides will look at whatever the relevant mechanisms and instruments are.

On the issue of FETO and convergence or lack of convergence on terrorism, I would suggest that the visit is not over, let’s wait for some of the outcome that are usually associated with such visits. In broad terms as I said, there was a detailed conversation on terrorism and our view point was put across the Turkish leader.

As far as the activities of FETO are concerned, they were mentioned to us. What I can tell you is that any organization in India weather it is Indian or Foreign, obviously has to work within the parameters of our laws and our norms and regulations, so that position is quite clear.

I hope I have answered the question about terrorism whether there is convergence or not, as you have seen and as you will see later today perhaps, there is condemnation, there is convergence on condemning terrorism, there is convergence on view that terrorism is a menace and it poses threat to peace and stability and it needs to be fought very effectively and on stopping cross-border movement of terrorists. So those elements that I have given you from the readout of the meetings, some of them you will find reflected more formally in the course of the day today.

Dekhiye Kashmir ke baare mien Bharat ka jo paksh hai wo hamesha se bahut prakhar aur mukhar aevam saaf raha hai, ki poora Jammu & Kashmir rajya Bharat ka ek abhinn hissa hai. Main is baare mein nahi kuch kahnaa chaahta ki jo visiting dignitary hain unhone kal kyaa kahaa ya parson kyaa kahaa. main aapko khaali yah bataanaa chaah rahaa hoon aur aaj aapse baat karne ka meraa jo uddeshya hai wo ye ki main aapko kewal ye bataanaa chaah rahaa hoon ki aaj mulaakaat ke dauraan kyaa baatcheet hui.

Mulaakaat ke dauraan, Kashmir ke baare mein, terrorism ke baare mein jo hamaaraa paksh hai wo humne un ke saamne rakhaa aur baat bilkul khul kar saamne aai ki koi bhi vajah kyu na ho, aatankvaad ko kisi bhi tareeke se jaayaz nahi thahraayaa jaa saktaa, chaahe aap ka uddeshya kuch bhi kyun na ho.

Ye paksh ke Kashmir ka mudda ek aatankvaad ka mudda hai, humne ye paksh unke saamne prastut kiya aur jaise jaise din aagey badhega to aap dekhenge ki kis prakaar se dono netaon ka aatankvaad par nazariya kitna milta hai.

Question: what was the Turkish response when we raised the issue of Kashmir and did the Turks offered to mediate?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Gopal Baglay:Aaj ki mulaakaat mein is tarah ki koi baat nahi hui. Humne apnaa paksh rakha ki hum 40 saal se aatankvaad ke shikaar rahe hain.

We have been victims of cross-border and state sponsored terrorism.

Jahantak Kashmir mudde ka sawaal hai to us par to hum Pakistan ke saath baat karne ke liye taiyaar rahe hain hameshaa se aur hamaaraa to hameshaa se ye kahna raha hai ki koi bhi mudda kyu na ho, khaali Kashmir ka hi nahi, saare mudde donon deshon ke beech, dwipaksheeya adhaar par, shantipurna tarike se unka samaadhaan nikaalaa jaa sakta hai.

Is Sarkar ne' aur pehle bhi Sarkar ne bahut prayaas kiye hain Pakistan se dwipaksheeya vaartaa ke liye taaki Kashmir ya anya mudde bhi baatcheet dwaara hal kiye ja saken.

Question: Did they offer a response?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Gopal Baglay:They listened with care and attention to what we had to say and our case essentially was that Kashmir is an issue of cross-border and state sponsored terrorism which has dogged us for 40 years and as far as the issue is concerned, we are obviously ready to address any issue between India and Pakistan bilaterally, through peaceful means, as has been stipulated in Shimla Agreement and Lahore declaration.

Question:Bharat hameshaa se shaantipurna dwipaksheeya baatcheet ka pakshdhar rahaa hai lekin jis tarah ki ghatna ko aaj anjaam diya gaya hai, kya us se yeh prakariya shuru hone mei aur vilamb ho sakta hai?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Gopal Baglay:Ye mudda Turkey ke Rashtrapati ke saath baatcheet mein nahin aya.

Question: You mentioned that the trade has to be increased to USD 10 billion. Is there any time frame by when we hope to increase it to that amount?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Gopal Baglay:Yes, thank you for reminding me. The year by which we both intend to increase the trade to USD 10 billion is 2020. The two leaders agreed to encourage the business leaders and businesses of the two countries to make efforts for achieving USD 10 billion bilateral trade turn over by 2020.

Question: You asked us to wait for the joint statement, which anyway we are waiting for but we saw what the Turkish President said today. While our Prime Minister very clearly elaborated the case about cross-border terrorism, the President of Turkey spoke about the left-wing extremism attack in Sukma, but the cross-border terrorism issue did not come across that strongly from the Turkish President’s speech. Are you not taking up that disagreement over with Turkey, is there a difference of opinion on cross-border terrorism, especially since even Syria accuses Turkey of cross-border terrorism?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Gopal Baglay:I have made it very clear that what we have discussed is the issue in detail. There has been a detailed conversation on terrorism, all forms and manifestations have to be effectively fought and defeated. There have been conversation on cooperating bilaterally and multilaterally, there has been a conversation that terrorism is a menace and it must be stopped.

As I said from the readouts that I have of the meetings that, Strong condemnation and resolute opposition to terrorism in all forms and manifestations wherever committed and by whomever committed and of course, that here cannot be any justification for terrorism.

Both sides urged all countries and entities to work sincerely to disrupt terrorist networks and financing and stop cross-border movement of terrorists.

So I don’t see, in the light of what I said earlier and repeated just now, why you would have any doubts in your mind.

Question: Did the Indian side raised concerns regarding Turkey’s support to Pakistan backed resolutions at the OIC on Kashmir?

Official Spokesperson, Shri Gopal Baglay: On Kashmir, what we have put forward was our point of view i.e. how we view Kashmir which is Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India and Kashmir problem as such having a predominant dimension of cross-border terrorism which needs to be defeated and stopped by those who are perpetuating it.

The bilateral aspect of Kashmir that I said earlier,can be discussed peacefully, has to be discussed peacefully and bilaterally between India and Pakistan as has been provided in Shimla Agreement and Lahore Declaration.

Thank you all, thank you once again for coming here at a very short notice. Have a good evening.

(Concludes)

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