Strong Pakistan -Turkey relations continue to be a hallmark for Islamabad’s foreign policy. Pakistan has emerged as a major strategic partner for Turkey since the country’s negotiations with the European Union hit a brick wall. The relations between Turkey and Pakistan are based on a united vision of Pan-Islamism agenda.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey has undertaken the mantle of being the “global Islamic leader”. Last October, he had declared that “Turkey is the only country that can lead the Muslim world.”
His statement on Kashmir at the UN General Assembly declaring that “eight million people are under siege” has prompted India to cancel Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Ankara, it has further decided to withdraw the defence deal of $ 2.3 billion signed between the two countries.
The recent shifts in Indo-Turkey relations with regard to Kashmir have become complex. Ankara has historically supported Pakistan against India and despite the lucrative $2.3 billion deal offered to Turkey by New Delhi, Ankara did not switch sides.
As EurAsian Times reported earlier, Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), a Ministry of Defence Enterprise was on-course to sign a contract with a consortium formed by five leading shipyards in Turkey for technical collaboration to construct five Fleet Support Ships worth a whopping $2.3B. However, due to the Turkish President’s rants against India at the United Nations over Kashmir, the Hindustan Shipyard Limited’s collaboration with Turkish consortium for the FSS project was put on hold.
In this context, Islamabad has become a strategic ally for Ankara. The relationship between Pakistan and Turkey, as experts term it as a relationship based on historical ties as well as mutual understanding on practical concerns.” Former Indian Diplomat Vishnu Prakash has further added that the binding factor in the new Turkey-Pakistan relationship is Pan-Islamism.
In terms of mutually beneficial ties, Turkey has neutralised the Indian and American effort to have Pakistan blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) through its vote this Friday. Ankara has also shifted its focus on defence cooperation to strengthen ties.
Turkey is also building four MILGEM medium-sized warships for the Pakistan Navy in a deal which is estimated to be worth approximately $ 1 billion. Under the technology transfer provision of the agreement, two ships will be built in Turkey and two in Pakistan. Last year, both nations signed their largest defence deal worth $1.5 dollars for the supply of 30 Turkish attack helicopters.