Regional Policy

On a two-day visit to Pakistan, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met all important dignitaries. With a vow on one hand to raise the trade from $1 billion to $5 billion, Turkey is an all-time partner for Pakistan. All eyes are now set on the upcoming 7th Pakistan-Turkiye High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council that Pakistan will host. Pakistan’s policy of engaging regional nations for bilateral economic cooperation is the way forward and it seems that our policymakers have got that right.

Recent engagements with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and now Turkey point to an emerging pattern where Pakistan is more interested in establishing regional ties than looking far West. In the larger goal and interest of economic recovery and creating multiple streams of investment, this is the most doable and beneficial strategy. Cooperating with countries that are more geographically feasible makes more geopolitical sense. There are lesser risks involved and costs of transportation and transit are naturally reduced.

In Turkiye’s case, military cooperation is another plus point by virtue of which the partnership seems more obvious. Turkiye is our key military partner, second only to China. Increasing technology transfer and joint military exercises is essential to maintain our edge in troubled times. It was not long ago that the Commander of Turkish Land Forces was here in Pakistan to meet the military leadership. All these regular exchanges are setting an edge for the bilateral partnership to flourish.

Religious bonds, common and shared history, military cooperation that never witnessed a pause, and even the popularity of Turkish historical shows in Pakistan, are all the baselines on which a very strong relationship must be erected. And while Pakistan’s government is interested in mega investment projects with trusted partners, Turkey is but a very reasonable choice. The win will be to plan the upcoming high-level summit around these lines and push for some breakthrough deals with Turkey.

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