Modi and Erdogan condemn terror, pitch for expanded trade ties

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
May 01, 2017 08:02 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan used a joint appearance on Monday to condemn terrorism, with the visiting leader seeking India’s help to contain the network he accused of orchestrating last year’s failed coup.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after an exchange of agreements during a joint press conference in New Delhi on Monday.(AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after an exchange of agreements during a joint press conference in New Delhi on Monday.(AFP)

Erdogan said Turkey’s $6.5 billion annual trade volume with India is “not enough” and should be boosted.

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“Nations of the world need to work as one to disrupt terrorist networks and their financing, and put a stop to cross-border movement of terrorists,” Modi said, adding he had an extensive conversation with Erdogan on the subject.

“We agreed that no intent, goal, reason or rationale can validate terrorism,” Modi said, after the two sides inked a host of agreements.

Countries need to stand and act against “those who create, support, shelter and spread terrorism,” Modi said, adding, “President and I decided to work together to strengthen cooperation, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to effectively counter this menace.”

For his part, Erdogan lashed out at the movement of Fethullah Gülen, which he held responsible for the failed coup of July 15, saying he hoped India would take steps to expel the domestic network of the Muslim cleric.

He said the Gulen network is active in over 100 countries in the world and accused it of infiltrating various organs of government, while thanking Modi for his support in the wake of the coup.

While condemning recent terror attacks in India, Erdogan said Turkey would always be in solidarity with India in battling terrorism. “Terrorists will be drowned in the blood they spill,” he said and cited a quotation from Mahatma Gandhi to make his point.

Batting for India’s quest for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, Modi said, “both of us recognise the need for the UNSC to reflect the world of the 21st century and not of the century gone by.”

Both leaders vowed to strengthen economic co-operation, with Modi saying, “President and I are clear that strengths of our economies present an enormous opportunity to expand and deepen our commercial linkages. We need to approach the entire landscape of business opportunities in a strategic and long-term manner.”

Modi encouraged stronger partnership of Turkish companies with India’s flagship programmes and to tap into diverse and unique opportunities in the India growth story.

Erdogan said the bilateral trade volume, which is currently at $6.5 billion is not enough, and expressed desire to increase it to $10 bln as soon as possible.

He pitched for raising investment in energy and infrastructure and said the frequency and destinations of Turkish Airlines in India should be increased.

He also said the two countries can do business in their own currencies.

Erdogan also warned against the rise of populism and divisions on the basis of sex and religion, noting that the East-West differences are now much more highlighted.

In the context of cultural xenophobia taking root, Erdogan said differences should be embraced, not feared.

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