Prime minister Narendra Modi , cancelled his Turkey visit over latter’s stand in the Kashmir issue. Ever since abrogation of article 370, which the Indian opposition parties and even Pakistan had believed would never be touched by any party which forms government. Pakistan is crying and cribbing since the scrapping of Article 370 and Turkey backed Pakistan’s stand during the UNGA last month.
And Pakistan has come in open support for Turkey’s offensive aganist Syria calling it as matter of National Security.
This friendship between the two are not new found.. they are driven by the same intention- Pan Islamism.
Somewhere in Pakistan, a Turkish couple sat in a café. The woman spoke on a mobile phone, her phone cover painted in the red and white hues of the Turkish flag. Behind her on the wall hung a picture of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The man asked the waiter for the bill. The waiter went up to the manager and told him, in Urdu, that the couple who had just asked for the bill is from Turkey. The manager quietly handed him a note, which the waiter then handed over to the couple. “Our treat to Turkey,” the note read. The confused couple looked up at the Pakistani waiter who then smiled and said, “Paisay Erdogan sahib nay day diye (Mr. Erdogan has settled your bill).”
This scene was a part of a Turkish TV ad in 2017, a year before Turkey went to polls. The ad also comprised of scenes from different parts of the Islamic world to emphasise to Turks how they had come to be admired by Muslims from all over the world ever since Recep Tayyip Erdogan became their leader.
As Turkey’s negotiations to become part of the European Union hit a brick wall, Erdogan has turned his attention to the Islamic world. In these efforts, Pakistan emerged as a major strategic partner.
With a clear wish to be a leader for all Muslims, Erdogan found in Imran Khan an ally. It is in this context that Erdogan said “eight million people are under siege” in the Kashmir Valley, which prompted India to cancel Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled trip to Ankara and call off a $ 2.3 billion defense deal.
“It’s a relationship based on historical ties as well as mutual understanding on practical concerns,” said Qamar Cheema, a Pakistan-based geopolitical strategist. “Erdogan certainly sees himself as the ‘Big Brother’ of the Islamic world. He has spoken out on several instances in which Muslims have been oppressed. He spoke on Rohingyas, Palestine, and even Kashmir,” he added.
In fact, Cheema said, Turkey is Pakistan’s strongest ally in addition to China. “It is a strategic alliance between the two countries. Pakistan’s relationship with Turkey is second only to the one we share with China.”
There is also a strategic, practical quid pro quo aspect to this relationship. When Pakistan’s fate hung in the balance at the Financial Task Force (FATF) this Friday, a crucial vote from Turkey neutralized Indian and American efforts to have it blacklisted. On the other hand, Pakistan was among the first countries in the world to say Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria against the Kurdish forces was a matter of “national security”.
At a rally at Kahramanmaras, the Turkish leader Erdogan brought a trembling 6-year-old girl on stage dressed in military garb and told her she would be honored if she died as a martyr. He sounded like a terrorist. This kind of child abuse is only expected from the fanatics in Hamas or Hezbollah. Erdogan though is the leader of an important NATO ally.
Turkey is beginning to resemble Pakistan, a perpetually failing state whose military leadership has tolerated and advanced a vision of political Islam deeply hostile to US and Western interests.
The clearest parallel with Pakistan is Turkey’s current approach to the war in Syria. In January, Erdogan launched a new offensive against America’s Kurdish allies in Afrin. Even though the Turks have worked against the regime in Damascus, during the first weeks of that offensive they actually coordinated with their erstwhile adversaries in Syria.
This is similiar to the toxic version of Pakistan’s broader approach to the US-led war in Afghanistan.
There, the Pakistani military and intelligence services have tolerated and at times encouraged a group known as the Haqqani Network to become a lifeline for the Afghan Taliban and other terrorists attacking U.S. forces and the elected government in Kabul.
At the same time, the Pakistanis have been important allies for the US dating back to the Islamic insurgency against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and more recently against elements of al Qaeda since 2001.
When the US finally tracked down Osama bin Laden, it found him living in the same town as Pakistan’s prestigious military academy, Abbottabad.
The recent warmth and friendship between Khan and Erdogan, however, is not without historical context. One school of thought in Pakistan views the country’s Islamic identity as significant to its relation with the Arab world while another sees closer ties to Turkey as the answer.
Pakistani leaders have always expressed their admiration for the iconic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.
Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s former military dictator, positioned himself as “Pakistan’s Ataturk” – the “great modernizer”.
At one point, there were even rumors that Musharraf may follow in Ataturk’s footsteps and declare his country a secular state. But the Pakistani fascination with Ataturk dates back even further.
Pakistanis see Ataturk and Muhammad Ali Jinnah as reflections of each other. And people of these two countriesvthinks, this is the reason why these two never had a fall out.
But, there is one very crucial distinction between Jinnah and Ataturk. Ataturk was a modernist. He aggressively neutralised Islamists in Turkey, which is something Jinnah never did in Pakistan.
The next phase of the Pakistan-Turkey relationship was kicked off under former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Now, under the current PM Imran Khan it has only strengthened.
The PML(N) government got many projects that started in collaboration with Turkey, including the Metro Bus project and renewable energy work. There has also been cooperation in the defence and tourism sector. Turkey has become one of the top destinations now for Pakistani tourists.
Pakistani diplomats believe that, Imran Khan is hailed as an effective leader by the Turks and that is what reflects in the relationship.
Many Pakistanis feel this relationship between Pakistan and Turkey, really started taking shape during the Khilafat movement of 1919. The relationship between Pakistan and Turkey has been an anti-imperialist one. Many Pakistanis feel that the Ottomans, and later the modern state of Turkey, has supported the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent more than the Arabs have.
Can Indians at least now understand, why the RSS and Veer Savarkar lost faith in Gandhi after the Khilafat?!
The Muslim population who were in india, thinks that Khilafat movement strengthened the realtionship between them and Turkey. Where as Indian historians claim that, Gandhi won over trust of Muslim population by supporting Khilafat.
This is the reason, history is always a lesson. The truths of past which Congress had masked are unveiling themselves.
Dr Sindhu Prashanth