Project Reports

Seminar on Pak-Turkey defense co-operation in emerging geo-strategic paradigm


MUSLIM Institute organized a seminar titled “Pak-Turkey defense co-operation in emerging geo-strategic paradigm” on 16th November, 2015 at National Library of Pakistan, Islamabad. Eminent scholars from Pakistan and Turkey participated in the seminar and expressed their views on the subject. Former Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal (R) Kaleem Saadat presided over the session whereas Rear Admiral Mukhtar Khan Jadoon, Former Additional Secretary Ambassador (R) Ishtiaq Hussain Andrabi, Associate Dean NUST University Dr. Tughral Yamin, Chairman MUSLIM Institute Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali, Research Associate MUSLIM Institute Mr. Tahir Mehmood, Senior Research Fellow USAK Turkey Dr. Altay Atli (via video link) and Former Member Parliament of Turkey Mr. Ali Şahin (Via video Link) spoke on the occasion. Foreign delegates, professors and students of universities, scholars and researchers from different institutions, analysts and media personnel actively participated in the discussion.

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Experts expressing their views, observed as under:

Pakistan and Turkey have a strong deep rooted relationship established through their common faith, shared history and cultural bonds. Pak-Turkey Friendship has its roots to Centuries old ties between Indian Muslims and the Ottoman Empire. Since the creation of Pakistan, Turkey established close relationship with Pakistan. Turks acknowledge Muslims of Pakistan for the role they played to support the Khilafat. Both the countries enjoy a unique relationship in inter-state relations; it is unique in terms of mutual trust, understanding and close cooperation. Long-standing relations span diverse areas –from political to economic, to defense and security, to education and culture. During his visit to Pakistan, Prime minister Davutoğlu said, “We stand by our brothers. Pakistan's security is Turkish security; Pakistan’s flag is Turkish flag.” Pakistan and Turkey work closely in the UN, OIC, ECO and other international and regional organizations. Both countries support each other on issues like Kashmir and Cyprus. Both countries have similar perspectives on regional and international issues. The geo-strategic importance of both is unique and similar to a greater extent and both are facing similar kind of security threats.

The emerging geo-strategic paradigm around the world poses new security threats. The end of the Cold War and the beginning of the 21st century has not brought the world peace and welfare as we have expected. Instead, what they have brought to the world is a deepening of security challenges. What we are observing now is both a horizontal and a vertical expansion of security threats in the world. Horizontal broadening in the sense of incorporating “new” non-military aspects of security, such as environmental, economic, demographic, criminal, terrorist, health, information, immigration and other aspects. Vertical broadening in the sense of security referring to incorporation of other non-state referent objects, such as individuals, local communities, groups of people by common ethnic, religious or ideological characteristics, global community etc.

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During the Cold War we were concerned about conventional warfare and nuclear weapons, and the states were the main actors, but today the spectrum of security issues is much wider ranging, and there are not only new forms of security threats, but also new actors. One of such forms is terrorism. The 21st century is witnessing a global development of terrorism. The global powers have changed their methods of controlling the other states, now the modern methods of non-conventional warfare and perceptional warfare to destabilize the target countries are being applied. Terror organizations are supported and funded by the countries to produce anarchy in the states. Both countries Turkey and Pakistan are the victims of non-conventional warfare and perceptional warfare.

The security situation in regions of both countries is of grave concern. The security situation in south Asia is multifaceted like ceasefire violations along the LoC in Kashmir, Indian interference in FATA & Baluchistan, Indian Defence spending spree & production of long range ballistic missiles, security situation in Afghanistan. While whole Middle East region is in crisis and turmoil in different countries and Israeli aggression since long time are threats to peace in the region.

Regions of both countries are facing greater and graver challenges in their geo-political environment. Pakistan is in the midst of a decisive campaign to eliminate the scourge of terrorism, and is of great significance both from the of bilateral relations between the two countries, and with regards to forging a collective strategy to address security threats to the region and firming up responses to changed strategic realities. The changing global scenario of the world politics necessitated deeper co-operation of the two countries especially in defense sector.

Another development which is of great importance for both the Middle East and South Asia is the rise of China and its increasing influence in the Eurasian continent with projects like the One Belt One Road project. Pakistan has traditionally very close ties with China, and recently Turkey is also improving its relations with China at a fast pace. Both Turkey and Pakistan are on the route of the One Belt, One Road project. This is an economic project, but every major economic project has political implications. China’s involvement in the region can help enforcing the security in respective regions. All the parties involved in the project stand to benefit from a secure and stable environment.

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There is a strong desire from both sides to translate their historic and cordial relations into a strong sustainable strategic partnership. In terms of capabilities, strong cooperative relationship in defense industries between the two countries is a major asset. The past ten years or so have witnessed a profound improvement in this area. Turkey is working with Pakistan in, for example, armored vehicles, tanks, military communication systems and naval patrol boats. There is also the willingness on both sides to expand the relationship to further areas such as aerospace industries. Turkey has a growing economy, and a focus on improving its defense industry by producing its own technology in this area. Within this respect, there are great prospects for Turkey to cooperate with Pakistan and Turkey sees Pakistan not as a market where it can sell products, but a long-term reliable partner for cooperation. Numbers of high level visits exchanged between two countries in past is a feature of growing close bilateral ties. On April 2, 1964, an Agreement was signed; an Article of which deals with defense cooperation including production of arms and ammunition and co-operation under Article 51 of UN charter, against unprovoked attack. In 1988, Pakistan-Turkey Military Consultative Group (MCG) formed to work on extending cooperation and exchanging experiences in the fields of military training and defense production between the two countries and to review geo-political environment of the region. The two sides have established high level military dialogue group in 2001 for promoting defense co-operation and collaboration between the two countries. Both the countries have been doing joint military, naval & air exercises (Aman & Indus viper series). Pakistan has been participating in F16 Anatolian eagle exercises in Turkey since 2004 and exchange of T37 & F16 pilots, also exchange of two pilots each for basic training (agreement signed in June this year). Other agreements include F16 upgradation in Turkey and purchase of defense equipment from Turkish vendors like attack helicopters and electronics.

During the 4th meeting of High Level Strategic Co-operation Council (HLSCC) held earlier this year Pakistan and Turkey signed 11 agreements and MOUs to strengthen and institutionalize their strategic co-operation. In maritime collaboration sixteen thousand tones fleet tanker is being built in Karachi shipyard with the support of Turkish firm which is a landmark defense collaboration. Another initiative is the defense industry collaboration of Qatar, Turkey and Pakistan initiated by Ministry of Defense of Pakistan. During the visit of Secretary Defense to Turkey in October 2015 a landmark defense cooperation agreement under which Turkey will provide Pakistan with thirty-four T-37 fighter trainer aircrafts and their spare parts free of cost. The meeting reviewed the progress made in various projects of military training and defense equipment.

The priority of Pakistan Turkey co-operation in the coming years will be peace and security in Afghanistan, regional stability, energy corridor security and mutual understanding. Both countries have made remarkable progress in these spheres and their collective efforts and expertise can complement each other to contribute to greater regional and global peace and prosperity. Being leading Muslim countries and members of OIC, Pakistan and Turkey can play more decisive role in settling the crisis in Muslim world, which is facing great challenges like turmoil in Middle East and North Africa, instability in Afghanistan, Palestine, Kashmir and Cyprus conflict and others. Turkey and Pakistan jointly can bring other Muslim countries to address these issues.

Interactive Session

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After speakers expressed their views, interactive session held and speakers answered various questions in detail and said:

There has been lot of potential of defense and security co-operation of Pakistan and Turkey in Afghanistan. Turkey has been supporting Pakistan politically and it has always supported Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir. There is imbalance between trade and defense cooperation as most of the Turkish companies are coming to Pakistan and in hard times of Pakistan Turkey is still investing in infrastructure in Pakistan.

Since last three decades Pakistan has been home to large no of Afghan refugees and has huge experience in this regard. In the result of the recent turmoil in Arab, millions of Iraqi and Syrian nationals have taken refuge in turkey. So there is the scope that turkey should learn from Pakistan’s experience and asses the pros and cons of its outcomes and design its policy accordingly and formulate finest policy regarding refugees and their facilitation. Pakistan is the largest host country with respect to sheltering refugees. Which have granted refuge to three million Afghan refugees according to official figures and to four million unofficially. Therefore, Turkey can benefit a lot from the experiences of Pakistan.

In sharing of experience Pakistan can help Turkey to fight with terrorists. In co-production both countries can work on the production of armed drone ‘Buraq’ and the production of defense weapons for asymmetric warfare. Now as the tactics of warfare have changed and the weapons requirement depends on threat perception. Threats from non-state actors require different kind of defense equipment which both countries are facing today which is the potential area for the co-production of similar kind of defense equipment. In post-conflict rehabilitation both countries are facing the great challenge of dealing with millions of refugees. It is another area which demands the close co-operation of both counties.

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Recommendations

From the speeches and recommendations put forward in the seminar following recommendations extracted:

 

 

» Pakistan & Turkey 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.
 
» Both countries should extend the cooperation in defense co-production e.g. aerospace technology.
 
» Pakistan and Turkey can go for integrational mechanism of defense co-production that is for efficient use of the resources, produce one part here and upgradation in other country vice versa.
 
» Pakistan having experience of tackling terrorism can support Turkey to deal with same kind of threats.
 
» Both countries should energize OIC so that the multidimensional problems confronted by Muslim world could be resolved.
 
» Top leadership should continue to consult with each other to come up with a common stance on issues confronting both countries.
 
» Both countries need to take benefit from the opportunities of cooperation available in areas of maritime defense production, infrastructure, trade and economic corridors etc.
 
» Pakistan is the largest country with respect to hosting refugees and because of the current crisis in Iraq and Syria, hundreds of thousands of people are taking refuge in Turkey so turkey can take pronounced advantage from Pakistan’s experience.

 

 


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