- Turkey is in contrast with the Arab states
Despite being a Muslim country with many proclaimed brothers throughout the Islamic world, we have never received actual and sincere support for most of our agendas. Most notably from the Arab countries for whom Pakistan is willing to sacrifice itself, and yet they continue to be in bed with our enemies often rewarding them with state awards amongst others. Mere statements of condemnations are even unheard of.
Turkey, on the other hand, stands on a different tangent when it comes to rendering us support. For years, Turkey has stood by Pakistan and extended all forms of support and cooperation, especially in the corridors of international power. Indeed, this relationship goes beyond words. People visiting the Mediterranean country can vouch for the love and warmth received. I have personally witnessed the hospitality towards Pakistanis in Turkey. The level of respect one receives is overwhelming. Throughout the rest of the world, Pakistan is considered a low-grade nationality, often due to the shameful activities of some of our illiterate citizenry. However, when it comes to Turkey, the level of respect is beyond comprehension. Our citizens are welcomed with a warm smile often being treated to free coffee or sweets and termed brothers by the Turkish people. By far, it is one of our only relationships’ which is based upon mutual respect. For others, we have mostly been on the serving end, treading carefully across the lines of a master/servant affiliation.
Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan has visited Pakistan a number of times, each time pledging his continued support to our agendas in the region. He remains the only international leader willing to openly stand by the Kashmir cause and call out India for its atrocities. His latest visit over the weekend sent ripples of discomfort throughout the Indian leadership as he blasted them on the Kashmir issue. Erdogan’s unequivocal stance on Kashmir is not just a symbolic gesture but is an actual revelation of the honest intentions underlying our friendship.
Until and unless Pakistan starts taking a stand for itself within the Muslim world, it will remain unable to garner support for the Kashmir cause and make decisions which are in their sole beneficial interest. Decades have already been wasted protecting the interests of others. Pakistan cannot afford another era of serving and needs to upgrade its position in the international arena. Mere words of brotherhood and unanimous affirmation towards Turkish support isn’t enough. Practical steps which reflect our independent mindedness and ability to decide for ourselves, even if it means going against the wishes of the Arab world, are pivotal in establishing us as a key player in regional politics
It was a strong enough statement to compel India into calling out the Turkish President on allegedly interfering in India’s internal matters. Perhaps, they’ve realized it isn’t an internal matter if international countries start condemning it. Their narrative of this being a domestic issue, does not require international interference. Probably why the stance of the Turkish President is even more important as it dispels the notion of the Kashmir issue being a local regional matter between two countries.
The Turkish support adds to the long-desired international affirmation Pakistan seeks for the Kashmir issue. Previously, Erdogan has also raised the Kashmir issue before the UN General Assembly. The continued condemnation of Indian transgressions upon the Kashmiri people reflects Turkey’s sincere concerns in regards to the atrocities on our brothers and sisters in Kashmir. As opposed to the hypocritical stance of other Middle Eastern nations who are not even ready to openly condemn the Indians, the Turkish support is exemplary and is a stepping stone for not only the Kashmiri resistance movement, but also for Pakistan in general. It affirms our stance on Kashmir and reiterates the need for support required from the Muslim world.
Apart from Kashmir, Turkey also strenuously extends its support to Pakistan in regards to the FATF issue as well as acknowledges Pakistan’s efforts for peace in Afghanistan, a task which other members of the international community only undertake half-heartedly.
The foundation behind the bond shared by Pakistan and Turkey traces its inception into the pre-partition era when the Muslims of present day Pakistan stood in support of the Turkish people. They say tragedy brings people closer. Turns out it is true in the case of Pakistan and Turkey. The common thread of upsetting military interventions and prolonged rule binds them.
The Turkish President’s willingness to expand the horizons of economic investment in the country is also another welcome step which might help us out of our economic woes. Though Turkish support has been with us for far too long, however, the seriousness attached to Erdogan undertaking this visit in spite of Pakistan backing out of the Kuala Lumpur summit in 2019 reveals the underlying purpose; the emergence of a new regional bloc. Undeterred by the diplomatic setback upon Pakistan’s refusal to attend the Kuala Lumpur summit, the Turkish President went forward with his visit. There is no denying the fact that Turkey foresees a long standing partnership with Pakistan and the emergence of a new regional leadership is in the shadows.
Nevertheless, in spite of their own agendas, the Turks have stood by Pakistan in our times of need and have never shied away from voicing their support in our favour. By far, they remain the only ones to call out India’s barbarism in Kashmir for what it is, unlike the hypocrisy of the Arabs who have refused to condemn the Indians. In the future, it is crucial that Pakistan, before making decisions similar to the boycotting of the Malaysian summit, considers the impact on its relations with other Muslim countries and our judgement should not always be clouded with crude oil from the Middle East.
Until and unless Pakistan starts taking a stand for itself within the Muslim world, it will remain unable to garner support for the Kashmir cause and make decisions which are in their sole beneficial interest. Decades have already been wasted protecting the interests of others. Pakistan cannot afford another era of serving and needs to upgrade its position in the international arena. Mere words of brotherhood and unanimous affirmation towards Turkish support isn’t enough. Practical steps which reflect our independent mindedness and ability to decide for ourselves, even if it means going against the wishes of the Arab world, are pivotal in establishing us as a key player in regional politics.
Let’s hope future decisions are made based upon strong statements of support made in our favour by the Turkish President every now and then as opposed to hefty amounts of dollars. To the wonderful people of Turkey: Biz kardeşiz.