Beginning of a New Era
The Turkish president’s visit laid out various historical facts about the two countries’ relations. Bilateral ties between Turkey and Pakistan have historically been exemplary, and the two brotherly countries have never left each other stranded in times of need. Turkey has always remained a close friend of Pakistan over the years. Pakistan, on the other hand, is going through a difficult phase in its war against militancy and extremism, but as a nation, Pakistan has shown that it has adequate capacity to rid itself of such problems. In addition to political and security-related collaboration between the two countries, there is also a need to center point on further strengthening economic and trade cooperation.
Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Turkey and wishes to further build them up through people-to-people contact. Turkey has remained a strategic partner of Pakistan, and it is extremely likely that this visit will diversify its economic relations in all sections of the economy. Pakistan accepts Turkey’s contributions to the war against terrorism. Turkey has continued supporting Pakistan over the years, and the friendship between the two countries is noted. These relations have been traditionally strong, with both nations continue extensive cultural, commercial, strategic and military cooperation. Both Turkey and Pakistan are Muslim-majority states and share extensive cultural and geopolitical links.
The sentiments of brotherhood that Pakistanis have for the people of Turkey have their roots in past. This history of Pakistani-Turkish relations is a story of concern and cooperation. They have been friends and supported each other in times of war and peace. The institution of Khilafat has occupied a very important place in the history of Islamic peoples. Pakistan established diplomatic relations with Turkey after the partition. The Muslims of the subcontinent learned valuable lessons and gained inspiration from their Turkish brethren during their fight for independence. Quaid Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, considered father of the nation and the first governor-general of Pakistan, at the time of the appointment of H. E. Mr. Yahya Kemal Beyatlı as first Turkish ambassador in Pakistan on March 4, 1948, stated that: “Turkey has drawn our admiration for the valor of Turkish people and the way in which your statesman and the leaders have struggled and fought almost single-handed in the midst of Europe for your freedom and sovereignty which is worth mentioning, ‘I really can assure your excellency that the Muslims of Pakistan will entertain sentiments of affection and esteem for your country.
In July 1964, President Ayub Khan visited Turkey. The Pakistani president disclosed later that during his meeting with Turkish leaders, they had expressed grave concern over the Cyprus situation. Turkish Prime Minister SüleymanDemirel expressed his gratitude for Pakistan’s stand over the Cyprus issue in his visit to the country in April 1967. Pakistani importers were keen to buy chemicals and textiles auxiliaries among other goods from Turkey. At the session of the Pakistan-Turkish Joint Commission for Economic and Technical Cooperation, which was held in Islamabad in March 1977, the two governments agreed to outline several areas of cooperation, including on food and agriculture. Devastating earthquake that hit the Pakistan-administered region of Kashmir in October 2005.
In May last year, Pakistan also added Turkey to its visa-free travel list, making strides in tourism and business between the two.If citizens of both Pakistan and Turkey were able to attain citizenship and dual passports of each other’s’ countries, it would mark the largest bilateral move in both of the young nations’ history and would add significantly to their already-strong relations.
Turkey has openly supported Pakistan’s stance on the Kashmir conflict and maintained political and military support during its conflict with India.Ankara and Islamabad have strengthened bilateral defense and security cooperation in recent years. In October 2018, the Pakistan Navy commissioned a 17,000-ton fleet tanker built in collaboration with a Turkish defense company in the southern port city of Karachi. Ankara is buying MFI-17 Super Mushshak aircraft from Pakistan. It also upgrading three Pakistani submarines and jointly building another fleet tanker. The ambassador said there are many ongoing joint projects as Pakistan continues to be one of Turkey’s largest defense partners. He added that exploring the possibility of research and development (R&D) programs and joint production ventures were also important.
The visit of his excellency President Erdoğan to Pakistan will not only be an opportunity to reaffirm our mutual desire for peace and stability in our respective regions but also to review the ongoing defense collaboration between the two sides and explore many new areas of cooperation
Main Export Items of Turkey: Communication tools, cameras, machines, textile
Main Import Items of Turkey: Textile fiber, plastic, cotton, polyester, organic chemicals
There are 17 firms operating in Pakistan. Turkish investments are mainly focused on energy, finance, infrastructure projects and contracting sectors. Construction is the leading sector for Turkish investors in Pakistan.President DrArifAlvi and his Turkish counterpart RecepTayyip Erdogan Both agreed to extend mutual support on issues of each other’s core national interest and underscored the importance of fully realizing the immense potential of the relationship between the two countries.As relations between Turkey and Pakistan continue to improve in different domains, Islamabad will try to avoid being part of the geopolitical rivalry between Turkey and others including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE by trying to delicately balance its relations with these players to maximize its economic benefit. Pakistan and Turkey are well placed to build closer ties in areas ranging from trade to culture.
Both countries have been accused of terrorism by the United States and have been asked ‘to do more’, in the ‘War on Terror’. Both countries have made significant sacrifices on the front line of the wars in Syria and Afghanistan respectively fighting terrorism, and looked after millions of refugees.
Turkey also asked Pakistan’s assistance in the fight against terror after Pakistan’s success in Zarb e Azb military operations in its north west. Pakistan also purchased naval equipment from Turkey, with the two countries also buying each other’s aircraft trainers for their respective air forces.Pakistan has always occupied a special place in the hearts and minds of the Turkish leadership, government and people. All eyes are on the forthcoming visit of the Turkish president to Pakistan. The two-day visit is a significant one toward combating terrorism and strengthening bilateral trade and cultural ties between the two countries.
(The writer contributes freelance, from Peshawar)
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