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Ertugrul series, propaganda, money — security agencies flag growing Turkey sway in Kashmir

From shows capturing Kashmiri youth’s imagination to money trickling in via NGOs & businesses, steady increase seen in Turkish influence & projection of President Erdogan as role model.

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Srinagar: Security forces and agencies have flagged Turkey’s growing influence in Kashmir and are keeping a close watch on the money coming in from the West Asian country that has increased its focus on the region, ThePrint has learnt.

Sources in the defence and security establishment said Turkey’s growing influence began over the last few years and increased with the visit of top Pakistani army generals to the country in 2019.

“A number of journalists, including two relatives of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, are now working for Turkish media organisations or pursuing courses in Turkish universities. Suddenly one finds more and more people getting tied up with Turkey,” a source said.

The source pointed out an effort is being made to increase Turkey’s influence in Kashmir especially with the young population.

Multiple sources in the defence and security establishment and the civil society seconded this observation.

Shows, secret visits

The first development that caught the eyes of the security agencies was the Turkish web show Dirilis: Ertugrul (2014), which has now become a rage in Kashmir, especially among the youth.

Dirilis: Ertugrul is a historical fiction based on the life of Ertugrul, father of Ottoman Empire founder Osman I. It highlights the struggles of Kayi, a Turkic tribe that went on to establish one of the most powerful global empires in the Anatolia region.

ThePrint had earlier reported that fans not only enjoy the show but say it has helped them “rediscover” Islamic history.

“Many of the youth are now attracted to this series and see religion as part of the creation of the Ottoman Empire. Even though the series was released years ago, the popularity increased over the last one year,” a second source said, adding that the way the show has been produced is attractive.

In July this year, state-run Turkish news agency Anadolu reported that the series has become a sensation because it somewhat “soothes the bruised and oppressed residents while giving them ‘hope’ of a voice”.

The sources said a concerted effort is being made to increase the Turkish influence in Kashmir. This grew after top Pakistan Army generals made visits to Turkey last year and met Turkish propaganda arms, they said.

The sources added that “slowly Turkey is becoming the new Pakistan” as far as propaganda is concerned.

Also read: Pakistan Army can’t risk controversy with Nawaz Sharif, sacrificing Imran Khan easier

The money flow and Erdogan

Ankara’s influence isn’t restricted to propaganda. Funds have also started to slowly trickle into Kashmir from Turkey through some NGOs and businessmen, said a third source in the defence and security establishment.

“Traditionally, the money came in from Saudi and Dubai. Turkey is a new phenomenon,” said the source.

Civil activist Javaid Beigh said there is no doubt that Turkish influence is growing in Kashmir. “This (is) part of a cleverly planned ploy,” he said.

Beigh added that a lot of Kashmiris had shifted to Europe and the Middle East, especially Dubai, in the 1990s. However, one now sees rich Kashmiris making investments in Turkey, he said.

Bashir Assad, who runs NGO Lehar Foundation and has recently authored a book, K File-The Conspiracy of Silence, highlighting the continuous radicalisation of the 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 emerging as the new role model,” he said.

Sources who are studying this growing sway point out that Kashmir perfectly fits into Erdogan’s political game plan as he seeks to counter Saudi Arabia’s dominance in the Islamic world.

Explaining why Turkey is focusing on Kashmir, a fourth source said 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 it a point to raise the Kashmir issue at global forums and work in tandem with Pakistan.

At the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last month, Erdogan said “Kashmir conflict is still a burning issue”.

At last year’s UNGA, only Erdogan and then Malaysian prime minister Mahatir Mohammed had joined Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in talking about Kashmir.

Earlier this year, Erdogan had even hit out at India over the Delhi riots in a speech at Ankara. He had said, “India right now has become a country where massacres are widespread. What massacres? Massacres of Muslims. By who? Hindus.”

According to reports, it is not just Pakistan that is supporting Turkey, but also China as the two countries seek to replace Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Islamic world.

Also read: The opposition rallies and what they mean for Pakistan, and the big errors made by Imran Khan


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  1. Carl Bildt (te EU traveller ) tweeted blaming the ” Hindu thugs …”to describe the recent riot in Delhi, He occupies the post of Fly & whisky , a ” florero” in spanish, a flower vase. Perhaps he is an advisor of Herr Erdowahn, as some German calls the Turk, Wahn meaning crazyness.

  2. Turkey has always been a troublesome country in Europe. See its role during the first world war, when it formed axis with Germany. It is called the sickman of Europe. Europe is reluctant to treat it as a member of European continent. When nothing else works for a country, Islam comes to rescue – return to fundamentalism, formenting trouble in other countries, interfering in the problems of other countries like Armania-Azarbahzan, to name some. Turkey need to be punished just as it was punished after the WW I. Unfortunately, foolish US has placed almost fifty missile sites in Turkey based on the theory of surrounding the erstwhile USSR. It is like giving big stone to a drunken monkey.

  3. I request Govt agencies to tackle this Turkish menace before it reaches to potential of hurting India. Turkey to be tackled diplomatically like Malaysia.

  4. Wonder if the writer ofbthis article watched all seasons on ertegurul? Running national narrative is fine but blindly, erodes the credibility of the writer and the print.

  5. But India is conniving with Israel who is secretly plotting to hurt the Muslims of kashmir and also the Muslims of India. We saw it in Gujarat. We see it in Kashmir today. Both India and Israel are the dangerous ones today.

  6. So what.. U hindu terrorists have done enough atrocities. U have oppressed whole Muslims of india. Now time to alter it to other way. darenda modi terrorist along with RSS terrorists are solely responsible for this.

    • typical muslim league terrosist and islamofasict ideology of pakistani surrender fauzi which is fitted in dead head of terrorists muslm

  7. Fisrt of all TV channels like TRT which are basically a propognda machine should be countered , there needs to be a better and clear layout with respect to our policy towards turkey
    should actors be allowed to work there considering what the state had to say about India
    should india jounalist be aloowed to go to TRT , “news” channels who dont utter a word on turkey
    rest the facade of tukey being a ” leader ” of islamic world be countered
    more local voices need to come up

  8. The incompetent and corrupt security establishment in Kashmir always come up with one excuse or the other to hide their utter failure in winning over the trust of the people. Fake encounters, rapes, loot, plunder, murders for promotion and terrorizing the local population is all what they do.

  9. Why India is not countering Turkey on the Cyprus occupation by Turkey. The Turkish army is an occupation Army in North Cyprus for decades. Turkey has no moral ground to raise any issue on Kashmir or any other international issues.

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