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Turkey first on anti-terrorism
Gul and Singh in Delhi. (AP)

New Delhi, Feb. 9: Turkey today became the first nation from the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to issue a joint declaration on terrorism with India, denouncing countries that sponsor, abet or instigate terrorism or shelters terrorists.

Turkey also backed a 14-year-old Indian initiative for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), deadlocked at the United Nations because of resistance from the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

Government sources said Turkey’s support for the CCIT was significant. The joint declaration named no country but denounced “those who sponsor, abet and instigate terrorism and provide them (terrorists) safe havens”.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who is on a state visit from February 7 to 11, signed the joint declaration on terrorism and another declaration on co-operation in science and technology.

The CCIT has been deadlocked because of lack of consensus on the definition of terrorism. The main objections have come from the OIC, which wants a line drawn between terrorism and popular struggles for self-determination, particularly in the light of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Turkey had failed to invite India to a regional conference on Afghanistan it had hosted on January 25, apparently at the behest of Pakistan.

Delhi, which had relayed its unhappiness to Ankara, today reminded Turkey about India’s role and interest in Afghanistan and its goodwill for the country. The message appeared to have hit home, with Gul inviting India to another regional conference on Afghanistan later this year. The conference will look at the economic challenges facing the war-torn country.

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