An Analysis of Turkish Relations With Pakistan

July 25, 2017 | Author: muhammad_shoukat | Category: Pakistan, Turkey, Bosnia And Herzegovina, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
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One Nation-Two States: An Analysis of Turkish Relations with Pakistan Muhammad Arham Shoukat Malik Mufti 12/5/2011

This paper is an analysis on the relations between Pakistan and Turkey in the 20th and the 21st century. It gives one an overview on recent developments between the two countries and examples of bilateral cooperation between the two states.

An Analysis of Turkish Relations with Pakistan- One Nation, Two States

Introduction In recent years, the AK Party has pursued a more active and aggressive foreign policy in the South Asia. This essay will analyze that the relationship of Turkey and Pakistan which seems to be one which will intensify in the next ten years and is currently driven by the soft-power exchange between the two countries. Pakistan and Turkey have engaged in intimate relations for over half a century. During the cold war era, Pakistan and Turkey were both significant states who held a regular stance against Soviet expansion. However, after the end of the war, both nations were exhausted to such an extent that there position in the international arena was obviously extremely unstable and ambiguous leading both countries to re-evaluate their geo-political urgency and develop new foreign policy approaches.1

The multidimensional relationship between Pakistan still holds a remarkably similar environment since the time when “the same spirit of brotherhood prevailed during the century’s former ties between Indian Muslims and the Ottoman empire.”2 Even though, ideologically both the countries differed greatly- Turkey- pursued secularism where as Pakistan decided to follow the Islamic ideology, their respective stances on their independent aspect, never managed to disrupt the close ties between the two countries.3


Hassan, Muniur. "PAK-TURKEY RELATIONS: On the Common Ties." Alternative Journals 7.2&3 (2008): P.1 Ibid 3 Ibid 2


One key crucial aspect to point out is that the current relations between the two countries are on a hazardous high mainly due to the open ended style of the Turkish Foreign Policy. Ahmet Davutoglu, the brainwork behind the modern Turkish Foriegn Policy, states “ that Turkey is a leading country with numerous territorial identities that cannot be reduced to one unified character..[Turkey] considers itself to hold characteristics of Balkan, Central Asian, Caucausian, Mediterranian, Gulf, Black Sea and European counties at the same time.”4 Davutoglu considers Turkey to be a significant country with local and global domination whose strong vision and proven significant contributions need to be accounted for. 5

This foreign policy strategy of Turkey has led to a convergence and divergence between the national interests of Pakistan and Turkey, which will be further assessed in this paper. Also it should be noted that many of these convergences and divergences occur mainly due to the geo-political position of both countries. Turkey’s geographic location mandates it to be at the crossroads of the Balkans, the Caucus, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East. Similarly, Pakistan is considered to be the passage of Central Asia, West Asia and South Asia, holding ethnic affiliations with all kinds of nationalities leading Pakistan to be a key player in the region. 6

Though both, Turkey and Pakistan remain in the center of an anarchic international and homely environment, they share a strong relationship which can certainly lead to


Ahmet Davutoglu. "Turkey's Foreign Policy Vision: An Assessment of 2007", Insight Turkey, vol. 10, no. 1 (2008), p. 78. 5 Ibid 6

Hassan, Muniur. "PAK-TURKEY RELATIONS: On the Common Ties." Alternative Journals 7.2&3 (2008): P.4


Pakistan becoming less of a target in the U.S war on terror and Turkey to become hegemony not only in its region but in the world.

Pakistan-Turkey Relations Historical Perspective

Before 1947, the year Pakistan was founded, the relations between Muslims of South Asia and Turkey had strong links. During the rule of the British, the rulers who had a voice in the society and played a vital role in the political scenario had an unusually strong Turkish background. Hence, when the Ottoman Empire fell, the South Asian Muslim rulers expressed their concern towards to decline and were majorly problem as they had lost all hope of creating a Muslim Caliphate.7 Pakistan’s sole acknowledged Muslim voice, Mohammad Ali Jinnah was surprisingly able to honor the rise of Kemal Attaturk, as he read this new development as hope for the Muslims in South Asia. Jinnah closely analyzed the challenges that the Turkish Republic faced on a daily basis. However, when Kemal Attaturk passed away he was gravely saddened. 8In honor of Kemal Attaturk, Jinnah called for Friday, November 18th as “Kemal Day.” In one of his interviews he told reporters “Ataturk must have derived the greatest sense of satisfaction and he fully accomplished his duty during his life-time and left his people and country consolidated, united and a power nation. In him,

7 8

Hasan, Rubab. Pakistan-Turkey Relations. Thesis. University of Karachi, 2001. Print. Pg 2 Haq, Noor. "Pakistan-Turkey Relations." Thesis. Pakistan, 2010. IRPAK: Pg 1


not only the Musalmans but the whole world has lost one of the greatest men that ever lived.”9

Jinnah not only admired Kemal Attaturk as a leader, but most acknowledged his efforts to build a nation-state model which would help him distribute and create a new realm for South Asian Muslims. After the formation of Pakistan, the Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan Yahya Kemal Beytalai wrote in a letter to Jinnah expressing how he felt about serving in Pakistan. “ The decision made by His Excellency in bestowing upon my humble person the honorable job of representing him for the first time in Pakistan will be a separate source of delight to me in the fulfillment on my mission...[ while] emphasizing once again the fraternal love and understanding of the Turkish nation for the noble republic of Pakistan.”10 Jinnah’s response was more cordial then expected as Jinnah replied stating “...The fortunes of your people were observed by s with deep concern and interest. I am so, assure your Excellency that the Muslims of Pakistan entertain sentiments of affection and esteem for your country, and now Turkey and Pakistan both are free, sovereign and independent countries...”11

This positive attitude of the Muslim Indians eventually led Pakistan to reach a much more favorable nation status in Turkey. The public and media of Turkey had picked up on the admiration that Turkey had towards Pakistan. On August 27 1947, when a Muslim train from India from Pakistan was attacked by the Sikhs, a message of Prime Minster Liaquat Ali Khan was recorded in the Turkish press, in which the Prime Minister acknowledged the support of the Turkey in condemning the act. A leading 9

Ibid Haq, Noor. "Pakistan-Turkey Relations." Thesis. Pakistan, 2010. IRPAK: Pg 3 11 Ibid 10


Turkish scholar of that time argued that “ the Islamic history of Pakistan is closely connected to the history of the Turks. Islam found its centre there as fast as in the first century of Hijra and Turkish conquerors and commanders entered and settled there...[we] wish that they live in peaceful coexistence and make their future together in a amicable approach and work for the welfare of each other.”12

Additionally, pockets of extreme secularist risings supporting Pakistan were evident in Turkey. Necmettin Sadak, a known sociologist author voiced his concern by stating “..Unlike India, Pakistan will not suffer from certain problems of ill caste system. Islam in these regions had solved, in the course of history the establishment and problems of the caste system..”13 The public opinion of the Turks towards Pakistan, certainly gained momentum and many other authors joined the literal campaign to encourage the establishment of Pakistan.14 Mrs.Edib Adivar, published a book called Inside India which argued a remarkably similar attitude to Sadak in which she stated that since Pakistan had a similar Islamic foundation like that of Turkey, the flourishing of culture and society of Pakistan would supersede the expectations of many, making Pakistan a rich and stable nation state. 15

Similarities and Differences between Turkish-Pakistani Political Systems The nations of Pakistan-Turkey both have had a history of strong


Ibid Ortyali, Ilber. "THE EMERGENCE OF PAKISTAN AND TURKISH PUBLIC OPINION IN 1947." Http:// Web. 14 Ibid 15 Ibid 13


institutionalized military establishment. In the history of Turkey, the role of the military has been on a rise after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Pakistan has a quite a similar orbit after its creation as the democratic foundations of the Pakistan were unreeled after Ayub Khan decided to conquer the slack government trying to restore faith in the Pakistani people of a free and prosperous country.

Additionally, the democratic process in both Pakistan and Turkey had a similar path. Both in Pakistan and Turkey, the leading factor for the intervention and takeover by the army had been a leading societal segmentation's. These segmentation's lead to a vacuum in the community indirectly causing political parties to look after their own business, leading to a illegal and outlawed political atmosphere in the country. This corrupt and illegitimate political atmosphere justified the acts of interference by the army. What is ironic about both these countries is that, although the army took over to put the house back in order, once they came to control the situation before too chaotic mainly because the army refused to hand over the power back to the civilians.16

However, one difference between Turkey and Pakistan, mainly stands in the fact that Pakistan was formed through the struggle of Jinnah and his supporters for a free democratic country for the Muslims, clearly having nothing to do with the Army. Turkey, on the other hand launched its drive for a new republic on the forefronts of the army rule, creating a new generation of skill and authority for the Turkish governments to proceed under the influence of the army. 17

16 17

Ibid Ibid


Pakistan- Turkey Stance of International Issues Pakistan, being formed on the principles of an Islamic democratic regime and Turkey on the other hand being formed on secular principles certainly different approaches to various international issues.

Bosnia-Herzegovina Early in the game when the crisis between Bosnia-Herzegovina started Turkey had a tough reasonable approach towards the crisis. Pakistan on the other hand, had a extraordinarily rigid attitude towards the crisis. Pakistan adhered with the notion that the sovereignty of Bosnia-Herzegovina such be respected and the international community should take notice of it. 18

The Bosnian crisis was considered to be one of the major challenges for the European country and Turkey itself. It was primarily due to the fact that Turkey had keen interest in joining the European Union, so any stance against the European Union approach would impair its position; however, if it did not follow up, the Muslim population of Turkey would be extremely upset. Moreover, Turkey was worried that if the crisis did not stop and Bosnia-Herzegovina ended up splitting, it could be seen as an opportunity for the Kurds of northern Iraq and Turkey to start an uprising to call for a free land of their own. Given all these conditions Turkey played a vital role in lobbying for financial assistance for Bosnia. They also took upon the responsibility to train Bosnian soldiers and provided the army with $2 million dollars of aid. Military help was not the only form of relief that Turkey provided to Bosnia it also provided Bosnia a credit 18

Hasan, Rubab. Pakistan-Turkey Relations. Thesis. University of Karachi, 2001. Pg 98


of $ 80 million dollars and advocated for lighting trade embargos against the Bosnian Muslims. Turkey’s overall approach came to be that the acts committed by Muslims in Bosnia were effective since they had every advantage of self defense. 19

Pakistan felt like the crisis in Bosnia-Herzegovina was a mass calamity in the sense that there was a serious violation of human rights taking place. Similar to Turkeys stance on the embargo, Pakistan also lobbied for a lift of trade embargos on the Bosnian Muslims. On August 12th 1994, a delegation consisting of delegates from Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey called upon the President of the Security Council and expressed their attitude towards the Bosnian-Herzegovinian crisis. After many efforts, the voice of the Pakistanis wasn’t expressed exclusively leading Pakistan to send around 3,000 soldiers to join the UN peace-keeping force. 20

Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was an event which not only decided the future of Afghanistan and the Soviet Union itself but also changed the role that Turkey and Pakistan were to play in foreign policy in the future. Turkey was not only part of the signatories that raised their voice to the international world, but also pointed that the current involvement of Afghanistan would be a direct threat to the sovereignty of Turkey and a source of instability in the region. In 1981, Turkish President General Kennan Evren, visited Pakistan on a six-day visit in which he expressed to the Pakistani government, Turkeys endorsement of a political settlement of Afghanistan in accordance with the UN resolution. He stated that a joint-Pakistan-Turkish attempt to resolve this 19 20

Hasan, Rubab. Pakistan-Turkey Relations. Thesis. University of Karachi, 2001. Pg 101 Hasan, Rubab. Pakistan-Turkey Relations. Thesis. University of Karachi, 2001. Pg 104


issue could only be led through a political settlement which could be reached through the resolutions of the UN General Assembly. He also expressed his concern for the Afghanistan refuges asking Pakistan to receive them inside Pakistani territory.

Pakistan, taking all the Turkish concerns in-confidence was extremely concerned that the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets was an indirect occupation of Pakistan’s sphere of influence. In an interview, President Zia-ul- Haq expressed his concern about the 80,000 troops which had just invaded Afghanistan, as he felt that the Soviets troops had the experience of harming the sovereignty of Pakistan in near sight. One could see that Pakistan was not going to let go easily of this issue and started reaching out to the west in-terms of assistance. After significant military support from the west, Pakistan last beefed up its frontline, standing as a major force in the region, denying success to the Soviets. The Soviets could not hold on any longer and after the Geneva Accords were signed, the Soviet troops finally withdrew from Afghanistan leaving Afghanistan in a much chaotic state than before. 21

In 1992, the Turkish Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel visited Pakistan and shared his concern with Pakistan in the aftermath of the Soviet-Afghan war. He stated that the only way that Afghanistan could be stable was if Pakistan made sure that the peace process in Afghanistan was a pleasant and smooth one and a genuine government was set up. This was a serious concern for Turkey, mainly because instability in the region could always hold an option of another possible intervention by the Soviets. However, little did Turkey realize that Pakistan’s participation in the war had left the 21

The Event of Our Era": Former Soviet Muslim Republics Change the Middle East." Daniel Pipes. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. .


nation of Pakistan in a state which began suffering from the virus that Afghanistan had been struggling with, leaving Pakistan in a chaotic situation for the next twenty years. 22

Kashmir Turkey has been a strong supporter of Pakistan’s standpoint, which is that off a free and fair plebiscite in Kashmir, should take place under the supervision of the UN. Turkey certainly argues that Pakistan and India are at a loss, suffering economically due to the Kashmir issue-Pakistan. 23

In February 1999, the peace process between Pakistan and India started when on the request of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of India Vajpayee visited Lahore to sign the Lahore Declaration. The Lahore Declaration called for a settlement of unresolved issue including Kashmir. However, this peace process did not last long enough when Pakistani troops along with Mujahideen took over the Kargill hills across the line of control in the Indian Administered part of Kashmir. The Turkish foreign ministry responded to this act by stating that the Lahore process provides the most appropriate ground for the resolution between the dispute between India and Pakistan and any armed crises could lead to a setback for both countries. Turkey was not in proper favor of the stance taken by the Pakistani side and requested a serious reconsideration. Turkey’s stance towards Kashmir was expressed clearly to Pakistan when Prime Minister Ecevit visited India in March-April 2000. Mr Ecevit mentioned that “Turkey had faced the same problem that India had been facing from Pakistan and was utterly menaced by 22



it. Ecevit mentioned that Pakistan officially provided moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri Mujahedeen’s. The media blew this statement out of proportion leading to tense relationships been the two countries.24

However, after Ecevits March-April 2000 visit to India, things normalized between Pakistan-Turkey as Turkish Prime Minister Ahmed Necdet expressed his support for the solution of the conflict through the use of International Law and the wished the best to the Kashmiri people. The stance that Turkey held towards Kashmir became unanimous, something which Pakistan tremendously appreciated. 25

During Turkish Prime Minster, Erdogan recent visit, Pakistan once again raised the issue with the Turkish nation. In a recent speech, Prime Minster Yousaf Raza Gillani stated “ the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been struggling for their right to selfdetermination pledged to them by the UN Security Council more than half a century back. They have been victims of Indian occupation and the worst forms of repression. In the last decade alone more than 75,000 defenceless Kashmiri men, women and children have been callously slaughtered by the Indian security forces. The Kashmiri’s must be granted their inalienable right to determine their own future..[it] is in the same spirit that Pakistan had supported a just and peaceful settlement of the Cyprus issue..[we] will continue to support your efforts for resolution of the ongoing problem in Cyprus.26


Ibid Ibid 26 Ibid 25


Israel-Palestine President Musharraf in a speech to a Turkish delegation stated “Excellency, Palestine remains one of the greatest challenges facing the Muslim Ummah. Israel atrocities against innocent, unarmed civilians continue unabated. Israel’s blatant occupation of Palestine territories goes on. We have always supported the Palestinians in their struggle against Israeli oppression and will continue to do so. The Palestinians deserve a homeland of their own.” 27This very speech represents the view and stance of Pakistan towards the Israel-Palestine issue. Until very recent, the views of the Turks and the Pakistanis differed on the Palestine-Israel issue.

Pakistan does not consider Israel to be a state as it has felt a close sense of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Pakistan believes that Israel has sponsored acts of the terrorism, suppression, killing, deportation and violation of scared places. The only solution Pakistan sees to this precise conflict is if Israel withdraws all occupied Arab and Palestinian lands. Indirectly, Pakistan has also expressed that the major root of terrorism around the world lies in the actions of Israel. If Israel had not taken over the Palestinian lands, the anti-west terrorism movement would not have gotten any attention. Even though, Turkey holds a completely different stance compared to Pakistan, Pakistan has not expressed any concern against the Turkish-Israel connection. One thing however that does bother Pakistan is the fact that the support of countries like Turkey towards Israel, has given rise for Israel to endorse Indo-Israeli relations. 28

27 28

Foreign Affairs Pakistan, issue 5 (June, 2003): 3-6. Foreign Affairs Pakistan, vol. XXX, issue 5 (June 2003): 7-14.


Turkey’s idea of peace in the Middle Eastern region requires all states in the region to recognize both Palestine and Israel in an equal manner. Turkey considers supporting Israel as a gateway to be on the positive side of the west. Even though, this Turkish approach has cause immense distress for the Palestinian people, the Palestinians believe that Turkey’s approach of respecting Palestinian rights is a formidable one. Also, recognition of Israel as a state gives Turkey more power and influence over the conflict and the region. However, the Arab countries believe this to be a notion which has betrayed the ideology of the Islamic Ummah.


Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

The issue between Cyprus and Turkey has been one key obstacle in many progressions for Turkey. Many countries have opposed Turkeys stance towards however Cyprus; however, Pakistan has been one of the major supporters of Turkeys stance to intervene into Cyprus since 1974. In a visit by President Musharraf to Turkey, President Musharraf reassured the Turkish government that Pakistan fully supports the Turkish Cypriots struggle for their just cause. He also figured reminded the Turkish people that Pakistan will always have a brotherly relationship with Turkey and even announced the fact that it would further open more TRNC consulates in Pakistan. 30


"Turkey's Stance on Israel Will Reverberate in Washington | Mohammed Ayoob | Comment Is Free | The Guardian." Latest News, Sport and Comment from the Guardian | The Guardian. Web. 05 Dec. 2011.
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