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Pak-Turk relationship: How new avenues can be explored


Mar 2, 2018
For decades, Pakistan and Turkey have been enjoying phenomenal relations in all spheres, as both countries share a common vision on the world economy. The two states see themselves as global economic hubs achieving the goals of the world's developed economies.

This shared vision allows them to prosper significantly in the global realm. In hard times, both states have had each other's backs. Even in recent years, they stood up for each other on various occasions. For example, Turkey did not follow suit with the U.S decision to put Pakistan on the gray list.

On Feb. 23, 2018, Pakistan's Former Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal tweeted: "Thank you Turkey for standing with Pakistan against all odds and proving that we are one. We are proud to have a brother like you." The Turkish ambassador to Pakistan replied, "Most Welcome." These gestures strengthen the relations between both states and open doors to new avenues of cooperation on a much bigger and better spectrum.

Defense alliance

The defense industry trade relations between Pakistan and Turkey have always maintained an equilibrium. Since 2015, many important developments have been made to boost the defense industry commerce between both states, including signing an agreement to upgrade Pakistan's PAK-F16 jets.

Turkey also showed its willingness to provide the Pakistan military 34 fighter aircraft in 2015. The core purpose of such cooperation is to build trust in the defense alliance. This trust will certainly mature the mechanisms of communication for sharing secret intelligence to counter various terrorist threats, especially those from the region of Syria and Afghanistan.

The year 2018 brought several more developments, including an eye-catching deal with the sale of 30 ATAK helicopters. A historic event was also witnessed that year as Turkey and Pakistan's naval forces participated in a bilateral exercise for the first time. This not only deepened the strong alliance between Turkey and Pakistan but also helped to broaden their defense cooperation.

Another deal worth $1.5 million was signed in 2018 by Pakistan for the accretion of four MILGEM-class ships (Milgem Project) from Turkey. In September 2019, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Pakistan Navy commander Adm. Zafar Mehmood Abassi cut the first Metal Plate of the four MILGEM-class corvettes in Turkey.

To strengthen the naval position of Pakistan and Turkey, a balanced defense trade relations will provide a venue for further cooperative agreements. Pakistan and Turkey's navies engaged in joint exercises held in the Arabian and Mediterranean seas in November 2019. The main aim of this exercise was to equip both militaries to function properly in a multi-threat environment with all the expertise to counter these threats.

Economic relations

The 21st century is known as the era of potential economic development for states. The term "power" is now largely related to economic power. In a multipolar world, Pakistan and Turkey are willing to utilize their resources to extract maximum output. Both states have great potential due to their strategic location on the world map, especially with the addition of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Through this mega project that connects all of the central Asian states and paves the way for Pakistan to shrink the strategic distance from its eastern provinces to China's western landlocked province Xinjiang to 2,106 km, Turkey aims to open the gate for China to enter into Europe.

Pakistan and Turkey hold a superior standing in this project. Both states perceive the BRI and also the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as important economic pillars for enhancing economic integration. These huge projects will eventually invite both states to further collaboration in all fields. They will provide a platform for viable lasting trade and profit-oriented targets.

Pakistan is interested in inviting the Muslim nations to join hands in the CPEC project. Pakistan is inclined toward Turkey to join this $64 billion project. Being known as an emerging economic giant, China holds a maximum share in this project.

'Project of the Century'

Chinese President Xi Jinping has the vision to improve connectivity by shrinking the distance between various Asian countries. Jinping's actions show that he values the economic power China enjoys which also inspired him to initiate the world's biggest project known as the "Project of the Century."

With the rapid development and keen interest being shown by China, this huge project is expected to be a great success. The project will improve connectivity and cooperation among multiple countries spread across the continents of Asia, Africa and Europe, and this will be an amazing opportunity in this century for all states to cash in on.

This mega project will also offer opportunities for commercial integration for Central Asian, Middle Eastern and South Asian states to raise their economic status. Turkey has shown its interest in joining the mega-project BRI, as it will help the country to overcome the issue of trade deficit with various states. The project will also help attract potential Chinese investment into the country.

The inclusion of Turkey will be of great importance for the project due to the country's strategic location. Another reason for its success in Turkey is that the citizens of Turkey have an optimistic view of it. President Erdoğan told Chinese-run news agency Xinhua: "We are on the same page regarding President Xi's approach to the initiative, which is not only to improve transport and communication networks, to construct trade corridors and to harmonize trade policies and development strategies but also to boost cultural and human ties in this framework ... There is a natural harmony between our Middle Corridor Initiative and China's Belt and Road Initiative ... This harmony allows us to cooperate with China in large geographies such as Central Asia and Africa."

Erdoğan's statement clears all doubts and shows his willingness to cooperate in this economic junction. China, Pakistan and Turkey appear to be the key actors in this project.

According to the CIA World Factbook, Turkey will have the 13th largest gross domestic product (GDP) by purchasing power parity by 2026. Therefore, having trade relations with Turkey will definitely Turkey's trade partners as well.

The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Turkey will generate a bilateral trade volume of $900 million to $10 billion within this year. One of the crucial developments of this agreement is that it allows freedom of movement between both states. This will increase people to people connection on a larger scale.

The main objective of this FTA for Ankara is to expand Turkey's automobile industry and electric appliances exports in Pakistan's market. For Pakistan, on the other hand, the foremost goal is to eradicate the anti-dumping duties which Turkey has imposed on its exports. This FTA has a special article in which Turkey and Pakistan will use the Tukish lira and the Pakistani rupee for trade transactions.

This swapping of currency will lower the cost of services benefiting both states. Pakistan invited Turkey's investors in special economic zones (SEZ) with the clause of tax exclusion and other incentives. An idea has been proposed to build a railway route connecting both states with fast, easy access and much cheaper logistics. These projects and agreements will not only create economic ties but also bridge the cultural links between the Pakistani and Turkish people.

Educational issues

The educational sector is one of the crucial areas on which the country's future depends. The educational ties between Turkey and Pakistan are significant for the advancement of both societies. Pakistan's Educational Minister Shafqat Mehmood and his five-member delegation met Turkish Minister for National Education Ziya Selçuk in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Pakistan's decision to shut down the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ)-linked Pak-Turk schools and hand the properties over to Turkey's Maarif Foundation was appreciated by Ankara. Selçuk expressed strong admiration for this gesture. Many Pakistani students have completed degrees in various fields at Turkish educational institutes. Some are even pursuing their educational careers at Turkey's prestigious universities.

These partnerships will build strong relationships between the students of both countries. In the future, they will be the one holding the reins of their respective states. Some will be the leaders of their state and others will influence the economy.

These joint collaborations between Pakistan and Turkey in the educational sector will impact the countries' bilateral relations. Therefore, both states need to decide the future of their countries by creating more and more avenues for students' cooperation to develop understanding and respect for each other's cultures. This will blur the boundaries and allow citizens of both countries to interact freely.

* Analyst in international relations based in Islamabad, Pakistan
Source : DailySabah


Dec 17, 2014
United States
Considering Turkish Dramas are popular in Pakistan, Pakistani media companies and actors/actresses should collaborate with Turkish media houses. Pakistan should try to minimize Indian media influence on Pakistani youth.

Turkish companies will benefit with access to a large market, and Pakistani actors will have more international exposure. Considering the language similarities, Turkish media products in Urdu could cross over to the Hindi speaking market, especially if the production value and story line are competitive with Bollywood's big media houses.

Its will also help offset Indian barriers to Turkish products.


Mar 2, 2018
Erdogan to discuss trade, military plans in Pakistan

Sabena Siddiqui February 11, 2020

Pakistani and Turkish officials have a variety of topics to address when they meet this week, including investment, foreign policy, China and defense.
REUTERS/Mian Khursheed
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (C, wearing dark glasses) inspects an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony at the prime minister's residence in Islamabad, May 22, 2012. Erdogan this week will be making his second visit to Pakistan as Turkey's president.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to arrive this week in Islamabad to attend the sixth round of the Pakistan-Turkey High Level Strategic Cooperation Council. On Feb. 14, the second day of his two-day visit, he plans to address Pakistan's parliament and hold talks with lawmakers.

This will be Erdogan’s second visit to Pakistan since he became president in 2014; he also made the trip twice as Turkey’s prime minister.

Cementing the historical bond between Ankara and Islamabad, this visit signifies expanding ties between the brotherly countries. Erdogan and a delegation of Turkish businessmen and top investors are expected to hold comprehensive trade talks with their Pakistani counterparts, and various important agreements could be finalized.

Exploring new opportunities in trade and further synchronizing military relations are primary purposes behind the visit.
Pakistan can expect more Turkish investment. Significantly, Prime Minister Imran Khan recently said he intends to involve Turkey in projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Ankara's inclusion in the megaproject could open new possibilities.

In an interview with Turkey’s official news outlet, Anadolu Agency, Khan mentioned that Pakistan requires Turkey’s help with mining and technology transfer in various areas, so joint projects in some new sectors can be expected.

Notably, the Turkish consulate under construction in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and main port, is going to be Turkey’s largest consulate anywhere in the world. This symbolizes the importance Ankara is giving to trade ties and its possible involvement in CPEC.

A direct Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad TIR trade corridor linking Iran, Central Asia, Turkey and Europe was inaugurated in April 2019. TIR stands for Transports Internationaux Routiers (International Road Transport) and is designed to smooth customs control.

A strategic economic framework and free trade agreement have also been under consideration and, if finalized, could help increase trade volume.

On this visit, officials will consider and perhaps sign an agreement to grant dual citizenship to Turks and Pakistanis.

Acknowledging both countries’ longstanding ties, Pakistan plans to commemorate this year the centenary of the Khilafat movement of the 1920s. Started on the Indian subcontinent in support of the Ottoman Empire, this part of history binds the Turkish and Pakistani nations.

Various new military training programs are being planned. Some law enforcement equipment is to be upgraded, and according to a statement by Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior, it “welcomed the initiative of introducing a patrolling force in collaboration with ICT [Islamabad Capital Territory] Police.”

Having an annual military and air force training exchange program since 2000, Turkey also helps maintain Pakistan’s fleet of F-16 aircraft. Bilateral defense and security cooperation was upgraded with some landmark defense deals in 2018, and these days Turkey is Pakistan’s second-biggest arms supplier after China. In the past decade, almost 1,500 Pakistani military officers have been trained in Turkey.

Where foreign policy objectives are concerned, both countries are mostly on the same wavelength and strategic ties have gradually grown over the years. High-level civil and military relations have been maintained since 1988 under the Pak-Turk Military Consultative Group mechanism.

Extending strategic and military ties with Pakistan has helped increase Turkey’s influence in Asia and provided new options even as the European Union is going through a metamorphosis. Basically, Pakistan is the strategic partner that helps Turkey maintain a balance between the East and West.

Turkey backs Pakistan on its support of Kashmiri self-determination and Erdogan raised the matter at the UN in September. Remaining Islamabad’s most dependable ally, Ankara has also supported Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force forum and backed its membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group as well.

Both countries are dependable allies. As a senior adviser to the Erdogan, Yalcin Topcu, described it recently, ”Whatever the situation, we have always been close to Pakistan.”

The Pakistani-Turkish equation has developed so rapidly in recent years that it could soon surpass Pakistan's ties with other major countries in the region. Especially in the case of Saudi Arabia, Islamabad’s flourishing ties with Ankara could cause a new upheaval.

In recent years, the strategic interests of Saudi Arabia and Turkey began to diverge, in part due to their contrasting perspectives on how to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during Syria’s civil war. Ankara’s interests also have become more aligned with Iran, China and even Russia. Now, with Erdogan’s visit, Pakistani-Turkish ties will be further strengthened, which could affect Pakistan’s foreign policy.

Kuala Lumpur hosted an Islamic mini-summit in December that was organized by the leadership of Malaysia, Turkey and Pakistan. However, Pakistan’s premier canceled his plans to attend the conference at the last minute, as Riyadh felt the forum was created to sideline the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Previously, Islamabad had offered Riyadh the opportunity to become a third partner in its CPEC megaproject with China. Now a similar offer is being made to Ankara. Already, Pakistan maintains a delicate balance in its relations with Tehran and Riyadh, and now a third new angle has emerged.

Discussing the implications of Pakistan’s sharp tilt toward Turkey, Micha’el Tanchum, a senior fellow at the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy, said, “Turkey’s burgeoning defense cooperation with Pakistan is indeed a challenge to the primacy of the Saudi-Pakistan relationship in Pakistan’s foreign affairs. Turkey is a rising arms producer and the deepening relationship between Ankara and Islamabad constitutes a strategic diversification of partners on Pakistan’s part.”

He added, “However, Turkey by itself cannot compete with Saudi Arabia in terms of the economic and financial relationship that exists between Riyadh and Islamabad.”

Therefore, Pakistan is likely to try to balance its ties with both Ankara and Riyadh. Right now, Turkey has its own strategic aims and Pakistan is an important link in this equation, but maintaining the status quo remains the best practical option for Islamabad.

Two years ago, Erdogan claimed Turkey would shape the future of the entire region once it achieves its targets in 2023, which include becoming one of the top 10 world economies and reaching a foreign trade volume of $1 trillion. It’s possible that implementing this strategic vision could trigger realignments in the Middle East, rendering past arrangements unsustainable.

Read more: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/or...de-military-pakistan-china.html#ixzz6DipdaRFS


Turkish leader's Pakistan visit to be 'historic': Envoy

Turkish ambassador says Erdogan to sign concrete documents during his two-day visit to Islamabad
Islamuddin Sajid |12.02.2020


Turkey's ambassador to Pakistan said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Islamabad this week would be a major step towards exemplary bilateral ties between two brotherly countries.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency in Islamabad, Mustafa Yurdakul said the countries would sign several agreements to enhance cooperation in various sectors.

"We will have some concrete documents to be signed during the visit, we will have our high-level strategic cooperation council meeting, which I can describe as a joint sitting of the two councils of ministers of respective countries -- all the ministers and the leaders. They will have the opportunity to interact directly with their counterparts," said Yurdakul.

Erdogan will arrive in Islamabad on Thursday for a two-day official visit along with a high-level delegation.

"More than 60 Turkish businessmen will be accompanying the president. So, this is also a very important event which will take our commercial and economic relationship to a new level," he said.

Historic visit

Q: The Turkish president is coming to Pakistan and people are very happy here, could you tell us about his engagement and any agreements that will be signed during this visit?

Mustafa Yurdakul: First of all, I should point out that it is very heartwarming to see the affection, the love Pakistani people extend to Turkey and our president, Mr. Erdogan. The Turkish president visiting Pakistan is a historic event, it is a very big event. This one will be another historic step towards our exemplary bilateral relationship. We will have some concrete documents to be signed during the visit, we will have our high-level strategic cooperation council meeting, which I can describe as a joint sitting of the two Council of Ministers of the respective countries, all the ministers and the leaders, they will have the opportunity to interact directly with their counterparts so that we will be giving a new impetus, a new face, to our already-thriving and very positive bilateral cooperation. This is more than cooperation. What exists between Turkey and Pakistan is more than friendship. It's a bond and this bond is there and will be there to stay. This kind of visit will strengthen this bond between the two peoples and between the two countries. Apart from his meetings with the prime minister and Mr. President [of Pakistan], Mr. Erdogan will also have the opportunity to address the joint sitting of the parliament -- the National Assembly and the Senate. This will also be a very remarkable event because I know that it is eagerly-awaited, by the senators and parliamentarians, what he [Erdogan] will say on anything related to Turkey and Pakistan and of wider geography. We will also have a business forum meeting. For that purpose alone, more than 60 Turkish businessman will be accompanying Mr. President. So, this is also a very important event which will take our commercial and economic relationship to a new level. So overall, what we will see is Mr. President will be embraced by the Pakistani people and by the Pakistani leadership.

It is always a great joy and pleasure for our president to visit Pakistan because he's very much aware of his popularity here in Pakistan. So, this will be a very positive, heartwarming and very promising visit for both countries.

Bilateral trade

Q: It's also expected that Pakistan and Turkey will sign the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) during this visit.

MY: What we will be signing during the visit is a strategic economic framework, which will entail almost each and every economic and trade aspect of our relationship, be it energy, transport, agriculture, defense production, etc. This framework will put a new roadmap for both countries to follow with a view to further enhancing our cooperation in the economic, trade and investment fields. For the FTA, we are all in favor of some sort of trade agreement between the two countries. The talks for that is ongoing and we will continue to discuss with our Pakistani counterparts to come up with an agreement that will facilitate bilateral trade. Our trade minister will be in the delegation and she will be meeting with her counterpart here and we will see what the next steps will be in that regard.

Turkish-Pakistani dual citizenship

Q: Last week Pakistan's Interior Ministry said Islamabad and Ankara were considering signing an agreement on dual nationality. Could you elaborate on this initiative?

MY: This is not something like a provision of dual citizenship for each and every Pakistani national. This is more like a recognition of those who have acquired Turkish citizenship, or vice versa Pakistani citizenship, to mark their status for respective countries with a view for laws and regulations. In other words, what we are working on in principle is that we need to have an agreement like Pakistan has with, for example, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, because each and every passing day I notice a growing interest on the Pakistani side to invest more in Turkey. Since we have some schemes for giving nationality to foreign investors, Turkey is becoming a point of attraction also for Pakistani brothers and Pakistani investors. So, we felt that it might be time to deliberate this issue and, you know, to come up with some kind of understanding between the two countries, how the dual citizens will be treated in the respective countries. This is the gist of the issue.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Q: Last week Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said during his interview with Anadolu Agency that Erdogan would come to Pakistan along with a high-level diplomatic and business delegation. He hoped to involve them in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor [CPEC]. How do you see this offer?

MY: Now the first phase of CPEC is at a completion level and talks and efforts are ongoing for phase two. In phase two, the expectation is that Pakistan would turn into more of a hub for commercial exchanges through the free economic zones.
Of course, we are interested in being a part of those special economic zones. What we do and advocate is for more Turkish businesspeople to come and invest in Pakistan and be part of this huge effort to turn Pakistan into a trading hub. So, if the opportunities are there for more Turkish companies to take part in such activities -- such zones and projects – I think we would be delighted to consider it in a very positive way.

Finally, I want to say is, let's enjoy the fact that the Turkish president is coming to Pakistan. Let's pray for the well-being and prosperity of both of our countries. Let's see the fact that Pakistan and Turkey are very lucky and blessed to have each other as ironclad brothers, in the sphere of international relations. This brotherhood is here to stay and both peoples will reap the benefits of this brotherhood more and more in the days and years to come.



Oct 26, 2009
We should push for FTA and Investment agreements with Turkey. Turkish Industrial base is much more developed then Pakistan. We should benefit from them


Feb 19, 2007
  1. Pakistan needs to work with Turkey to improve our Educational standard.
  2. Turkish Universities should open a branches in Pakistan and offer degrees in undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate programs.
  3. Turkey should offer scholarships to our top students to do further education in Turkey.
  4. Turkey should allow Employment opportunities to PakistanI skill and non-skill workers and Business opportunities to Pakistani businesses.
  5. Government need to make it easy for foreign companies to do business in Pakistan and especially Turkish and Malaysia companies.
  6. IK should request Turkey to allow FTA and Investment agreements. Turkish companies can invest in our industries and Joint venture in both public and private sector.
  7. Pakistan and Turkey can work together in many defense areas.
  8. As mentioned by IK, Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia need yo work on Media (TV Channels and documentary, etc) to have a positive representation of Islam and Muslims.

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