April 29, 2024 Special Dispatch No. 11301

In Urdu-Language Column, Pakistani Turkish Affairs Expert Dr. Furqan Hameed Examines Pakistan-Turkey Military Cooperation: 'Talks Are Also Underway To Jointly Manufacture A Stealth Fighter Jet'; 'Pakistan Has Purchased Military Equipment Worth Three Billion Dollars From Turkey'

April 29, 2024
Pakistan, Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 11301

In recent years, Turkey and Pakistan have been steadily building a strong military partnership, which has raised concerns that the rogue elements in the Pakistani military could supply nuclear technology to Turkey.[1] There is also evidence that, despite Pakistani denials of such actions, Pakistani soldiers aided Azerbaijan's military against Armenia in the most recent Nagorno-Karabakh war (September 27-November 10, 2020).[2]

In 2021, Pakistani commentators revealed, as shown in a study of YouTube videos, that Turkey and Pakistan were in talks over a likely military cooperation against Israel along the lines of their trilateral military cooperation with Azerbaijan against Armenian forces during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War. In the YouTube videos, such commentators suggested that Pakistani soldiers could wear Turkish military uniforms in a land war against Israel.[3]

In Islamabad, President Asif Ali Zardari conferred the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, a civil decoration awarded by the Pakistani government, on the Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Metin Gürak

In a recent column in the Urdu-language Pakistani daily Roznama Jang, Pakistan's Turkish affairs expert Dr. Furqan Hameed examined the military partnership between the two countries, noting: "In the world of Islam, Pakistan and Turkey are two countries that have secured their place among the top ten countries in the world in terms of their defense power."

His column, titled "Pakistan-Turkey Defense Cooperation," was published in the context of visit of Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Metin Gürak to Pakistan on April 18-19, 2024. During the visit, General Gürak was awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, a civil decoration awarded by the Pakistani government. President Asif Ali Zardari, who conferred the award on the visiting general, said: "Turkiye is a sincere friend of Pakistan and both countries have enjoyed deep fraternal ties, which needed to be further strengthened for the mutual benefit of the two sides."[4]

Following are excerpts from the Roznama Jang column:[5]

"America Had Provided Pakistan With F-16 Fighter Jets Before Any Other Country In The Region; The World Acknowledges The Skill Of Pakistani Pilots; When Turkey Acquired F-16 Jets, It Was Pakistani Pilots Who Trained Turkish Pilots"

"In the world of Islam, Pakistan and Turkey are two countries that have secured their place among the top ten countries in the world in terms of their defense power. Before [Tayyip] Erdoğan, Turkey was a weak country in terms of its defense industry, and only 20 percent of its needs were met from local resources. This is why Turkey could not achieve much success in the war against terrorism for a long time. Rather, its allied NATO member-states not only refrained from supplying Turkey with arms during its war against terrorism, but also imposed sanctions on several occasions.

"During this period, if any country was fulfilling Turkey's defense needs, i.e., was providing ammunition etc., then it was Pakistan. Did you know that during the war over Cyprus [in 1974] when the entire world turned its back on Turkey, it was only Pakistan that aided Turkey in every possible way, regardless of American pressure?

"I remember vividly when in my childhood, in 1974, we, brother and sister, visited Cyprus to meet our Turkish family. A large number of Cypriot Turks, recognizing our Pakistani identity (because until that time, no Pakistani had visited Cyprus), warmly welcomed us. We stayed at the residence of the then Governor of Gazi Mağusa [Famagusta], Ismet Basim, where for several days, high-ranking Cypriot Turkish officials visited us, expressing heartfelt gratitude to Pakistan, which was a source of pride for all of us.

"If you see, Pakistan, during that era, was indeed the medicine for every pain for Turkey. America gave Pakistan F-16 fighter jets before [it gave them to] any other country in the region. The world acknowledges the skill of Pakistani pilots. When Turkey acquired F-16 jets, it was Pakistani pilots who trained Turkish pilots. What is fascinating is that the prime minister of Turkey at that time, and later the president, Turgut Özal, was greatly impressed by the skill of the Pakistani pilots. He even allowed Pakistani pilots to fly his personal planes for an extended period.

The column in Roznama Jang

"I had a good memory of President Turgut Özal and even during my time as a student I would visit him for a long time. He was very influenced by Pakistan's development during that period, and it was under the influence of Pakistan that he introduced the free market economic system in Turker. Before Turgut Özal, Turkey had strictly prohibited the purchase of any foreign goods, and even having a dollar in one's pocket was considered a crime.

"After Turgut Özal, Turkey once again suffered from political instability for several years. But immediately after Erdoğan came to power, Turkey once again moved toward development. Turkey is currently meeting 80 percent of its defense needs with local resources and the day is not far when Turkey will meet 100 percent of its defense needs with local resources, and then, increasing its domination like a superpower, it will top the countries that sell defense equipment."

"Pakistan And Turkey Have Been Helping Each Other Openly In The Defense Sector, Regardless Of Any Country's Pressure"; "Making Rapid Progress In The Defense Industry, Turkey Has Left Behind Many Great Nations Of Europe And Is Busy Preparing To Be In The Ranks Of Countries Like America, China, And Russia"

"The current prime minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif, who has a special place in his heart for Turkey, will spare no effort to increase trade volume and promote defense industrial cooperation during his tenure. And it is the result of these very efforts that Turkey and Pakistan are once again coming close to each other, and during the visit [on April 18-19] of the Turkish Chief of General Staff, General Metin Gürak, to Pakistan, discussions must have taken place to further promote cooperation in the defense industry sector between Turkey and Pakistan.

"By the way, Pakistan and Turkey have been helping each other openly in the defense sector, regardless of any country's pressure. At present, making rapid progress in defense industry, Turkey has left behind many great nations of Europe and is busy preparing to be in the ranks of countries like America, China, and Russia. More than 2,500 defense corporations are working in Turkey today, and their number is continuously increasing.

"Turkey always prefers Pakistani experts when selecting foreign experts for its defense industry and this is the reason why many Pakistani experts are working in major Turkish defense industry companies. Pakistan has initiated several joint defense projects with Turkey. Talks are also underway to jointly manufacture a stealth fighter jet developed by Pakistan with Turkey. Various agreements are expected to be signed during General Gürak's visit to Pakistan to promote cooperation with Turkey in the field of defense industry and to benefit from Turkey's experiences.

"During this time, Pakistan has purchased military equipment worth three billion dollars from Turkey. Additionally, Turkey continues to aid Pakistan on the MILGEM project [which involves the procurement of four corvettes for the Pakistan Navy]. The naval ships will prove vital in enhancing Pakistan's maritime security capabilities. In fact, this project is the best example of the historical friendship and brotherly relations between Turkey and Pakistan."

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