By Tugcenur Yılmaz and Dildar Baykan
ANKARA (AA) - Pakistan’s Ambassador to Ankara on Monday thanked the Turkish government and people for their constant support to the struggles of Muslims in Indian-held Jammu Kashmir.
"Turkey has been one of the most important voices, consistently raising the plight of the Kashmiris internationally and recognizing their right to self-determination in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council,” said Syrus Sajjad Qazi at an event held in capital Ankara to observe Kashmir Solidarity Day.
The event was jointly organized by the Pakistan Embassy and Ankara-based Economic and Social Research Center (ESAM).
He added that Turkey as chair of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had taken a “strong moral and ethical position” to send a fact-finding mission to Kashmir.
Qazi noted that Kashmir remains one of the most militarized regions in the world, where Indian security forces continue to unleash “a reign of terror” despite international outcry.
Speaking at the event, Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmet Yildiz said: "The future of Kashmir must be decided by a referendum in the region in accordance with UN resolutions.”
“Turkey always stands with truth and justice," he added.
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.
The two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- since they were partitioned in 1947, two over Kashmir.
Also in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.
Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu 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.