Srinagar: Security forces and agencies have signaled Turkey’s growing influence in Kashmir and are closely monitoring money coming from the West Asian country which has become more focused on the region, ThePrint has learned.
Sources within the defense and security establishment said Turkey’s growing influence began in recent years and increased with the visit of top Pakistani army generals to the country. countries in 2019.
“A number of journalists, including two close to separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, now work for Turkish media or take courses at Turkish universities. Suddenly there are more and more people linked to Turkey, ”said a source.
The source pointed out that an effort is being made to increase Turkey’s influence in Kashmir, especially among the young population.
Multiple sources within the defense and security establishment and civil society have supported this finding.
Shows, secret visits
The first development that caught the attention of security agencies was the Turkish webcast Dirilis: Ertugrul (2014), which is now all the rage in Kashmir, especially among young people.
Dirilis: Ertugrul is a historical fiction based on the life of Ertugrul, father of the founder of the Ottoman Empire Osman I. It highlights the struggles of Kayi, a Turkish tribe who went on to establish one of the most powerful world empires in the region of Anatolia.
ThePrint previously reported that fans not only enjoyed the show, but helped them “rediscover” Islamic history.
“Many young people are now drawn to this series and see religion as part of the creation of the Ottoman Empire. Even though the series came out years ago, the popularity has grown over the past year, ”said a second source, adding that the way the series was produced is appealing.
In July of this year, the Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported that the series has become a sensation because it “soothes the bruised and oppressed residents somewhat while giving them ‘hope’ with a voice.”
The sources said a concerted effort was being made to increase Turkish influence in Kashmir. This increased after top Pakistani army generals visited Turkey last year and encountered Turkish propaganda weapons, they said.
The sources added that “Turkey is slowly becoming the new Pakistan” when it comes to propaganda.
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The flow of money and Erdogan
Ankara’s influence is not limited to propaganda. Funds have also started to slowly flow into Kashmir from Turkey through NGOs and businessmen, a third source within the defense and security establishment said.
“Traditionally, the money came from Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Turkey is a new phenomenon, ”the source said.
Civilian activist Javaid Beigh said there is no doubt that Turkish influence is increasing in Kashmir. “This (is) part of a cleverly planned ploy,” he said.
Beigh added that many Kashmiris moved to Europe and the Middle East, especially Dubai, in the 1990s. However, wealthy Kashmiris are now seen investing in Turkey, he said.
Bashir Assad, who heads the NGO Lehar Foundation and recently wrote a book, K File-The conspiracy of silence, highlighting the continued radicalization of youth in Kashmir, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the new “role model”.
“We Kashmiris gave up our identity to the Arab world in the 1980s and now Erdogan is becoming the new model,” he said.
Sources that study this growing influence point out that Kashmir fits perfectly into Erdogan’s political game plan as it seeks to counter Saudi Arabia’s dominance in the Islamic world.
Explaining why Turkey is focusing on Kashmir, a fourth source said that Erdogan, for his own political gain, is trying to project himself as the one who will bring back the Ottoman traditions that will set the standards for the rest of the Islamic world.
Turkey has also made a point of raising the Kashmir issue in global forums and working in tandem with Pakistan.
At the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last month, Erdogan said “the conflict in Kashmir is still a hot issue.”
At last year’s UNGA, only Erdogan and then Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohammed joined Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to talk about Kashmir.
Earlier this year, Erdogan even denounced India over the Delhi riots in a speech in Ankara. He said: “India has now become a country where massacres are rife. What massacres? Massacres of Muslims. By who? Hindus.
According to reports, it is not only Pakistan that is supporting Turkey, but also China as the two countries seek to replace Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Islamic world.
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