Turkey-Pakistan Strategic Partnership (V)

Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

Concluding Remarks The Republic of Turkey and Pakistan are strategic partners. Both countries are indispensable partners working assiduously to promote peace and prosperity for their people and the region. Turkish former Prime Minister emphatically declared that Pakistan’s security was Turkish security and Pakistan’s flag was the Turkish flag and that Turkey would always stand by Pakistan. The affinity amongst the people of the two countries, nurtured by decades old cultural, religious and geo-political links is an almost unparalleled phenomenon in the history of bilateral relations between states.
The people of Turkey and Pakistan enjoy brotherly relations that are not only deep rooted in history but also are based on shared values and common national interests. Since the establishment of Pakistan, both countries have been extending exemplary support to each other during the most difficult times. Notwithstanding Turkey-Pakistan relationship is at best in political and cultural spheres, trade and economic relations do not reflect the depth of these brotherly ties and much is to be achieved in this area by the both governments and private sector businessmen of the two countries.
Turkey is an important country of the region and a worthy military and economic power. It has been taking keen interest in promoting peace in the region and bringing Pakistan and Afghanistan closer with a view to resolve the Afghan conundrum and building mutual trust between them. It launched a trilateral summit process between Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan in February 2007 to pursue this objective and it was as a result of continued Turkish endeavors that some visible progress was made at the eighth trilateral Summit in Ankara in 2014. The three countries agreed to enhance cooperation for regional security, stability and development.
Most recent visit of Turkish foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to Pakistan is opened a new chapter in the bilateral relations of both the countries. It further strengthened socio-economic ties. It further deepened political ties in terms of better understanding on different regional and global issues of mutual interests.
Following are given valid suggestions for the further strengthening of bilateral relations by transforming and achieving greater economic integration, defence ties, and common strategies against terrorism:-
(a) Early singing of Free Trade Agreement would be a ”game changer”. It would accelerate trade volumes, economic ties, joint ventures and the last but not the least, foreign direct investments. Turkey and Pakistan have agreed to sign a FTA to enhance bilateral trade to $10 billion besides inking an additional protocol to strengthen the protection available to Turkish investments in Pakistan.
(b) Establishment of “Special Economic Free Zones” on mutual basis would bring desired dividends of greater socio-economic integration, industrialization and above all technology transfer facilities in the days to come. At least 100 Turkish companies were already doing successful business in Pakistan. These companies have invested dollar 2.7 billion on various projects in Pakistan until 2014. More Turkish investment is expected in energy infrastructure and beverages projects. He disclosed that Turkish Coca Cola Company was expected to bring in dollar 250 million investment in Pakistan in next three years.
(c) Greater role of “Private Sectors” of both the countries would be important to enhance trade volumes because both countries have traditionally focused more on other markets, rather than each other’s. It must be changed now for the achieving befitting propositions for both the countries.
(d) Mutual cooperation of diverse sectors such as diary, agro-economy, energy, infrastructure, science & technology, civil aviation, banking and financial services must be initiated for win-win situation of both the countries.
(e) Swap of currencies may enhance bilateral trade volumes between the two countries.
(f) Establishment of “Joint Chamber of Commerce” would bring greater economic integration.
(g) Missing of “Direct Transportation Links” has been a serious constraint for promoting Turkey-Pakistan business activities and economic ties which must be transformed by initiating already agreed mega projects of “Rails” and “Communications”.
(h) There is still a lack of better understanding about the “Vast Opportunities” existing in the two countries. Then, there are safeguard duties on textiles acting as a constraint in the way of enhanced trade which should be removed immediately.
(i) Security cooperation on different domestic (police training, terrorism, extremism, broad management, scientific investigation) regional (Afghanistan, Kashmir) and global (Arab Spring, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, ISIS, etc. issues.
(j) Turkey and Pakistan need to be cognizant of traditional and nontraditional challenges emerging from complexities of changing security paradigm, which warrants enhanced cooperation between both sides in spheres of defense and security.
(k) Both countries should extend the cooperation in defense coproduction e.g. aerospace technology.
(l) Turkey and Pakistan and can go for integrational mechanism of defense coproduction that is for efficient use of the resources, produce one part here and upgradation in other country vice versa.
(m) Both countries need to take benefit from the opportunities of cooperation available in areas of maritime defense production, infrastructure, trade and economic corridors etc.
(n) Widening cooperation on “CPEC” by exploring new avenues would connect Pakistan and West Asia and Turkey, whose unique economic geography places it in a position of strength, and to act as a natural platform for connectivity with several regions and nations.
(o) Joint stance on “UN Security Council Reform”.
(p) More focused “Educational & Cultural Cooperation” between the two countries. Both countries have had a long-standing tradition of educational cooperation. Currently, according to the figures the number of Pakistani students in Turkey is close to 1,000, and they are studying in various disciplines from natural sciences to engineering to business administration.
(q) Both countries should energize OIC so that the multidimensional problems confronted by Muslim world could be resolved.


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