Turkey’s interference in India deeper than thought – Hindustan Times

Two intelligence reports from India in the last two months have accused Ankara of having “made deeper inroads in India than assessed earlier” via state-run media, educational institutes and NGOs, Indian daily Hindustan Times said on Thursday.

A report from July called Turkey “the hub of anti-India activities”, accusing the Turkish government of attempting to radicalise Indian Muslims and hosting exposure trips in Turkey for Indian activists “who serve Ankara’s agenda” to speak against India, the daily said.

Another report released last week found that Indian individuals and groups were working closely with Turkey and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, while also having suspected connections to Pakistan’s intelligence service, it said.

“Turkey has been providing lucrative scholarships and running exchange programmes for Indian Kashmiri and Muslim students to study in Turkey through state-sponsored NGOs,” Hindustan Times cited the latter intelligence report as saying. “Once the students land in Turkey, they are approached and taken over by the Pakistan proxies operating there.”

Scholarships are provided by many NGOs, including the Turkey Youth Foundation (TÜGVA), whose High Consultation Committee includes Erdoğan’s son, Bilal Erdoğan, and the Turkey Diyanet Foundation (TDF), a state institute that provides religious services abroad, according to the report.

State bodies involved in the process are the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), the Presidency of Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) and the Yunus Emre Institute (YEE).

“Most of these organisations have direct connections with the Turkish government, President Erdoğan or his family,” the daily said, citing an unnamed counter-terror official.

TÜGVA has strong links to Islamist entities and political parties, including Pakistan’s Islamist Jamaat-e Islami (JI) and its youth wing, the Student Islamic Organisation (SIO), which denies involvement with the Erdoğan family or any Turkish group, denouncing “anti-India activities”, the latter report said.

Turkey’s International Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH), TDF and the Pak-Turkey Cultural Association are behind what the report called coordinated attacks on India, the India-based daily said.

Erdoğan’s neo-Ottoman narrative that challenges Saudi Arabia’s dominance in the Muslim world works well with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, as India has grown closer with the kingdom, it said.

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