Pakistan-Turkey Strategic Economic Cooperation – OpEd


The cooperation and alliance-making have always been the core principle of state’s strategies. The states converge and diverge according to their benefits and rivalry. The cooperation between Pakistan and Turkey goes back to history, and both have stood by each other out of the spirit of brotherhood. Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Mustafa Kamal Ataturk also shared joint views on the intersection of Islam and promotion of Muslim brotherhood.

Turkey has always stood by Pakistan in all the leading events in history, from standing by Pakistan against Indian violence in Kashmir, and raising voice at UNGA, to supporting in the financial issues and FATF. Turkey has always been the key ally of Pakistan in whatsoever the situation befalls. Pakistan, on the other hand also stood by Turkey in its conflicts with the neighboring countries, and has always extended full support to Turkey. 

The two countries have done many Joint Ventures, in order to promote economic and strategic cooperation, for enhancing stability in the region. The establishment of Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD), the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO); the two countries have also signed Strategic Economic Framework, which entails a broad spectrum of science and technology, education, tourism, health and defence. The Pakistan-Turkey Free Trade Agreement is also in the pipeline. Furthermore, Pakistan –Turkey Military Consultative Group (MCG), the Turco-Pak Treaty are indications of strong military alliance between Turkey and Pakistan. The formulation of Pakistan-Turkey High Level Military Dialogue (HLMD) which aimed at promoting defence ties between the two countries. It opened a new era of joint defence production, training and cooperation between the two states.  

The  two states have also conducted Joint Military exercises as well, entailing “Ataturk-XI”, conducted earlier this year with Turkey, with the primary focus on counter-terrorism operations; the naval exercise “Aman 2021” which was conducted with 45 countries including Turkey, for enhancing military skills; the “Anatolian-Eagle 2021” with the objective to enhance the interoperability between the participating forces, was conducted in Turkey.

The MILGEM-class corvette, named PNS Babur, is the first corvette ship built by Turkey for Pakistan. It will be delivered in 2023, whereas three more vessels will be handed over in 2025, out of which two will be manufactured in Pakistan, in a deal that inculcates the technology transfer. Moreover, the Turkish Aerospace Industry has also inked a contract with Pakistan’s National Engineering and Science Commission (NESCOM) to produce the components of TAI’s Anka Medium-Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) combat drone. The Anka MALE UAV system can perform in all weather, day and night ISR Missions, communication relays and tracking of fixed and stationary targets, signals intelligence (SIGINT). Such Joint Ventures boost the defence and economic ties between the two countries. 

Pakistan plays a pivotal role in enhancing peace and stability in South Asia, Turkey in this regard endeavors to assist Pakistan in order to overcome the hurdles in achieving peace. The alliance making and cooperation with regional allies, like Turkey, will boost Pakistan’s economy and international standing as well. Pakistan, considering the neighborhood, has to focus on the defence spending through defence trade ties, for boosting the state and regional security. The shifting global alliances and the continuous changing global geo-political order, the strong strategic-economic cooperation between Turkey and Pakistan add up in each other’s errand. 

Amber Afreen Abid

Amber Afreen Abid is a Research Officer at Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), Islamabad. She holds an M.Phil degree in Strategic Studies from National Defence University (NDU), Islamabad.

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