Aamir Khan meets Turkey's First Lady, draws criticism on Twitter
Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan was targeted by Twitter users (and rightly so) after he met Emine Erdogan, Turkey's First Lady, on a trip to Istanbul while shooting for his upcoming movie Laal Singh Chaddha. His meeting comes amid strained ties between India and Turkey, and reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government funds radical Islamist organizations in the country. Here are more details.
Emine hosted Khan at the presidential residence in the country's capital. It was Khan who initiated the meeting, said Turkish media reports. Khan is learned to have told Emine, Erdogan's wife, about the socially-relevant projects he undertook, including the Paani Foundation. He also told her about his wife's brief stay in Turkey, about his mother Zeenat Hussain, and his association with cinema.
Sharing images from their meeting on Twitter, Emine wrote she had a fruitful conversation with Khan. "I was happy to learn that Aamir decided to wrap up the shooting of his latest movie Laal Singh Chaddha in different parts of Turkey," her Twitter post read. The movie, a remake of 1994 Hollywood classic Forrest Gump, will be shot in Nigde, Adana, and Istanbul.
I had the great pleasure of meeting @aamir_khan, the world-renowned Indian actor, filmmaker, and director, in Istanbul. I was happy to learn that Aamir decided to wrap up the shooting of his latest movie ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ in different parts of Turkey. I look forward to it! pic.twitter.com/3rSCMmAOMW— Emine Erdoğan (@EmineErdogan) August 15, 2020
However, the smiling pictures of Khan and Emine miffed many, who slammed the actor for not considering how Turkey has been running a concerted campaign against India. Erdogan's regime sided with Pakistan last year after India abrogated Article 370, which bestowed a special status to J&K. Turkey had questioned the move, citing "excesses" by Indian forces in the Valley and called it "humanitarian crisis."
Earlier this month, Pakistani President Arif Alvi posted a tweet saying that Erdogan has lent support to the country's Kashmir cause. "Turkish President assured that his country would continue to support Pakistan's stance on Kashmir as both brotherly countries have similar goals," the tweet read.
Turkey supporting Pakistan is not the only driving force behind poor ties between Ankara and New Delhi. In July, an HT report said that Erdogan was emboldening radical outfits in Kashmir and Kerala. A senior government official said that India assessed Turkey "as the hub of anti-India activities" after Pakistan. Turkey wanted to exert influence among South Asian Muslims to challenge Saudi Arabia globally.
The report added that several religious seminars are being funded by the Erdogan government. The country also takes few freshly-minted radicals to Turkey to "reinforce their beliefs." Additionally, Indian intelligence officials learned of a Kerala-based outfit that has been receiving funds from Turkey quite frequently. Some members of this group also traveled to Qatar to seek money from people from Turkey, an official added.
Naturally, his proximity with Emine got Khan ire. Few Twitter users asked to keep his political views in mind before watching his movies. "Did Aamir Khan meet Turkey's President, Erdogan, and his family as an Actor or as Ambassador of somebody else? This meeting shouldn't be taken as an ordinary meeting, (sic)" one person wrote. Another reminded that he didn't attend the Shalom India fest.
Once Aamir Khan refused to meet India's friend Israel's PM.— Narendra Modi fan (@narendramodi177) August 16, 2020
Today He is meeting Anti Ind Erdogan
As we all know Turkey opposed abrogation of Article 370. Openly support Pak
Choose your heroes wisely. #AamirKhan pic.twitter.com/obLu6yseEP