President Erdogan’s Visit to Pakistan: Why India is worried?
Pak and Turkey relations date back generations, even before the establishment of the two states, more precisely during the Turkish War of Independence when the Muslims of the northwestern British Raj, initiated Khilafat Movement and sent financial aid to the declining Ottoman Empire, which was followed by the formation of the Turkish Republic and the Independence of Pakistan. As a result, Pak has enjoyed a very positive perception in Turkey for many decades.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was on an official visit to Pakistan from 13-14 of Feb 2020. The visit was aimed to further strengthen the brotherly relationship between Islamabad and Ankara. The visit took place after PM of Pakistan had to cancel his visit to Kuala Lumpur to attend a Summit, amid KSA reservations, where Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia were to lead the event of Muslims Ummah. Visit of Turkish President after non-attendance of Kuala Lumpur Summit by the Pakistani PM is a message to the world that Turkey and Pak stand together firmly through thick and thin. A similar message has already been sent after Imran Khan’s visit to Malaysia recently.
Turkish President also addressed the joint sitting of the Parliament on 14 February. The address was basically for the Pakistani nation but it also contained strong messages for the Muslim world, Western world, Israel and India. Support for people of IOJK is likely to figure out prominently. The visit is going has generated a realization among the Muslim world in general and a pressure on OIC in particular that there is a need of a strong forum that safe guards the interests of the Muslims which are seriously lacking at present.
Turkish President brought along various business houses and investors who met their Pakistani counterparts with an aim to enhance the bilateral trade and strengthen Pakistan’s economy. Enhancement in defense cooperation between two countries also took place during this visit. PM Imran Khan had already hinted that Turkey could help Pakistan in many sectors including mining, adding that Pakistan also desires technology transfer from Turkey in various areas. Establishment of mutual training programmes and upgrading of law enforcement equipment with Turkey is also in the pipeline. In addition, a patrolling force in collaboration with ICT Police based on the model of the Dolphin Force is also on the agenda.
Also, Pakistan is planning to arrange some event to commemorate 100 years of the Khilafat Movement this year. Both countries have extended each other their support during most difficult times, such as in reacting to natural disasters and cemented their friendly relations with time through diplomatic, economic and defense support. The visit of Turkish President to Pak is being considered very important for further cementing ties between two Islamic Republics.
Not only Islamabad’s strengthening of ties with Ankara is worrisome for Modi Govt, but it is also the remarks of President Erdogan about India’s atrocities in Kashmir which has troubled Indian Govt. To lodge a diplomatic protest over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks on occupied Kashmir, India summoned the Turkish ambassador on Monday. It also termed the statements as ‘unacceptable’ and which will have ‘strong implications’ on bilateral relationship. Turk President had expressed grave concern over the worsening situation in occupied Kashmir and reprimanded New Delhi for introducing draconian measures in the Muslim-majority region. He said that Turkey stood in solidarity with the people of Kashmir.
According to Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi told Turkish Ambassador Sakir Ozkan Torunlar that Erdogan’s comments lacked any understanding of the history of the Kashmir dispute. Raveesh Kumar MEA Spokesperson said, “This recent episode is but one more example of a pattern of Turkey interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. India finds that completely unacceptable.” He said that India had served a strong demarche or formal diplomatic note.
Despite all the chaos India’s trying to create, Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdogan’s visit to Pakistan will boost the existing cooperation between the two brotherly Muslim nations.