Pakistan-Turkey Ties By Muhammad Usman Ghani

Cooperation between the two Islamic countries is indispensable as their nexus can hinder any heinous design aimed at Muslims.
The Kashmir issue has given a wake-up call to the Pakistanis. They now know Pakistan is the subject of isolation from many countries. The cold response on the Kashmir issue from many countries implies Pakistan’s isolation on the diplomatic front. Even the KSA, which remained Pakistan’s ally through thick and thin, has not adopted a warm stance on the Kashmir issue. The US’s offer of mediation on Kashmir has remained an unrequited bid. Russia decided to favour the Indian camp on the Kashmir issue. The ties between the European clouts, including France and Germany, and Pakistan never became warm. Meanwhile, India garnered its support.
Being an all-weather friend of Pakistan, China supported Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir. However, in another good development, Pakistan earned the courtesy of Turkey. Turkey has voiced its concerns against the brutalities in Indian held Kashmir (IHK) and given the strength to Pakistan’s stance.
Pakistan shares a decent history of its ties with Turkey. Both countries have enjoyed strong bonds of cooperation since Pakistan’s inception. During the pre-partition era, Turkey had a special sense of reverence towards Indian Muslims as they opposed the splintering of the Ottoman Empire and initiated a Khilafat movement in its favour. Following the independence of Pakistan, Turkey cemented unprecedented diplomatic ties with the former. Since then, both countries have never witnessed a downgrade in their ties.
Cooperation between the two Islamic countries is indispensable as their nexus can hinder any heinous design aimed at Muslims.
With access over the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea as well as shared borders with several Middle Eastern and European states, Turkey has very substantial geography.
Healthier Pak-Turkey bonds can favour Pakistan in diverse ways. Ceremonial links with Turkey are capable of significantly boosting Pakistan’s trade as Turkey can provide Pakistan with access to the European states. Apart from that, our sole trade links with Turkey can expedite Pakistan’s shabby economy. As of 2017, the trade volume of Turkey and Pakistan has reached $900 million. However, the Turkish government has presented its proposal on the Strategic Economic Framework to enhance bilateral trade five times.
Turkey’s major exports to Pakistan are machines, boilers, electrical appliances and aluminium. Turkey has also expressed interests in developing a legal framework for tourism infrastructure planning, determination, and classification of qualities of hospitalities based on international standards. Pakistan’s ties with the European countries have never been at a warm verge.
However, Turkey shares a border as well as warm ties with EU states, It can, therefore, help Pakistan cultivate better ties with them. At present, Turkey enjoys an improved economy and has witnessed substantial progress.
However, in the past, the story was different. In the leaves of days gone by, Turkey had a feeble economy and faced multiple internal and external problems. Pakistan is transitioning with a similar phase from its worst economy and less development. Pakistan ought to learn from Turkey how to overpower these economic snags.
The cooperation between Turkey and Pakistan is not confined economically. The former has helped Pakistan on international forums as well. Pakistan was on the verge of making its entry to the blacklist of Financial Action Task Force (FATF). However, it was Turkey, with the support of Malaysia and China, which repudiated the entry of Pakistan in the blacklist. Turkey-Pakistan ties are also crowned by defence sales as Turkey is the second-largest weapon seller to Pakistan. Turkish defence exports to Pakistan have amounted at $400 million as the future sale of Turkish-made helicopters and war-ships are expected to bring that figure up to billions.
When it comes to Pakistan, it is also tantamount to carte-blanche for Turkey. With access to the Indian Pacific and Central Asian Republics, Pakistan offers the worthwhile option to Turkey to trade and enhance connectivity with the South and Central Asian region. Turkey imports cotton, beverages, vinegar and apparel from Pakistan. The bitter response of the US towards Turkey has brought Turkey closer to Russia and China; likewise, Pakistan is the good friend of China, therefore, Pakistan is capable of cementing further China-Turkey ties. The efficacious consummation of CPEC is likely to bring manifold prospects for Pakistan, thus, good Pak-Turkey ties can benefit Turkey as well. Over the last ten years, Pakistan has forged healthier ties with Russia; on the other hand, Russia and Turkey are on the same page in Syria. Likewise, these three countries are sharing fraught ties with the US. Consequently, the nexus of these three countries can counter the US designs aimed against them. Pakistan is the land of diverse cultures and traditions, so, people to people contact of Turkey and Pakistan has much to offer for the Turks. The land of Pakistan is abundant in resources, deep cooperation between Pakistan and Turkey would profit Turkey in this regard as well. The collaboration between Turkey and Pakistan can help the former in the Syrian turmoil. Turkey is looking towards Islamic countries to boost its tourism. Thus, Pakistan, with the bulk of its population, can give a pulse to the Turkish tourism department. For this purpose, Turkey is pondering to award visa on arrival to the Pakistani nationals.
Another interesting entity that brings both countries together is that they have many communal things. Both are Islamic countries. They are top refugee-hosting countries. Both countries are besieged by unstable countries. These states have democratic governments. Pakistan and Turkey are the dynamic members of OIC. All these factors have helped Pakistan and Turkey in fostering upright links.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Turkey earlier this year has added further impetus to the Pak-Turk ties. However, both countries ought to establish more decent ties to protect Islamic ideology and improve their respective economies and societies.
The writer is an electrical engineer who is also a CSS aspirant

September 17, 2019

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