Amid escalating diplomatic tension between India and Turkey, the government has issued an advisory for Indian tourists planning to visit Trukey, asking them to “exercise utmost caution” while visiting the nation.
“Government of India has been receiving queries from Indian nationals on travelling to Turkey in view of the situation in the region. Although there have been no reports of untoward incidents in the country so far involving Indian nationals, travellers are requested to exercise utmost caution while travelling to Turkey,” the Indian Embassy in Ankara tweeted.
Turkey has emerged as a popular tourist destination for Indian travelers. Turkey registered a 56 per cent rise in the number of tourist arrivals from India between January and July this year. Nearly 1,30,000 Indian tourists visited the country during this period.
Relations between India and Turkey have deteriorated in last few months after Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at the 73rd UN General Assembly session, made statements against abrogation of Article 370 by the Modi government.
The relations have soured to an extent that India has to cancel Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to Ankara later this month. PM Modi’s trip to Ankara would have been his first stand-alone visit to the nation since taking over in 2014.
Trukey’s close relations with Pakistan is also one reason behind cold ties with India. Erdogan has been openly cosying up with Pakistan. It also supported Pakistan during the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary meeting in Paris earlier this month, a stance which did not go down well with India.
Turkey has markedly increased its defence cooperation with Pakistan. Ankara is building four MILGEM medium-sized warships for the Pakistan Navy, in a deal estimated to be worth over $1 billion. According to the deal, two ships would be built in Turkey and the other two in Pakistan under technology transfer. The two countries last year also inked a $1.5 billion deal for the supply of 30 Turkish attack helicopters - in the largest defence deal between the two sides.
Other reasons for the drifting apart of India and Turkey are New Delhi declining to accede to Ankara’s request for backing of its nuclear ambitions, and also Erdogan’s ire at India for allegedly not cracking down on the institutes of his close rival - Fethullah Gulen.
Turkey blames the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation (FETO) for a failed coup to topple Erdogan in 2016. Ankara has alleged that FETO has “infiltrated” India, and Erdogan feels India is not doing enough to curb its activities.