India and Turkey on Friday discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in key areas of security, days after Turkish government had requested closure of all institutions connected with Fethullah Gulen, blamed for last month’s failed coup to topple President Tayyip Erdogan. During their wide-ranging talks, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, who is in New Delhi on his first official visit, reviewed entire gamut of bilateral relations and exchanged views on important global and regional issues of mutual interest.
“There were discussions also on the terrorist attacks in Turkey and the internal developments in Turkey, including the recent coup attempt. In this context, the Turkish side briefed about the role of Fethullah Gulen-led organisation (FETO) in the attempted coup,” an official source said. Earlier this month, Turkey had asked India to act against the institutions affiliated to the network of Fethullah Gulen, to which India had said that it was “looking into” the request.
On the multilateral front, there were discussions on the need for reform in UN Security Council, sources said, adding India’s application for the membership of NSG also featured during the meeting. “Turkey confirmed support for this as it had earlier for India’s membership of MTCR,” the source added.
The two countries also finalised a “roadmap” for cooperation between the two countries in a wide variety of fields including regular exchanges between the two countries at the political and official level to discuss bilateral matters as well as important global and regional issues of mutual concern. On the economic front, priority was given on convening the next session of Joint Economic Commission (JEC), which has been a very useful bilateral mechanism to discuss ways for increasing the bilateral trade and economic cooperation. The annual bilateral trade last year was USD 6.3 billion.
Cooperation for building closer economic ties through Joint Committee Meetings, Joint Working Groups, closer cooperation between business and industry associations and participation in trade fair and road shows is envisaged, sources said. Other areas of bilateral interests were cooperation in the fields of culture, education, energy, tourism etc. The two ministers exchanged views on the regional developments, particularly in West Asia, where the security situation has become alarming from the perspective of both the countries, sources added.