Turkish-Pakistan Relations: Continuity and Change
in Mehmet Tahiroglu & Tareq Ismael, eds, Turkey in the 21st Century: Changing Role in World Politics (Gazimagusa, North Cyprus: Eastern Mediterranean University, 2000), pp 149-178
Turkey's relationship with Pakistan has mostly been above and beyond the state-to-state level ties generally characterizing the nature and dynamics of international system. It is only recently that some snags in this relationship have become visible—an unhappy course that needs to be checked by the leadership of the two countries. Some scholars describe Turkish-Pakistan ties as "imaginary", while others perceive them to be "exemplary". Both opinions are relevant. The relations are "imaginary", because despite being based on centuries-old ethnic, religious, political and cultural connections, they have mostly failed to bring concrete material benefits to the two nations. For instance, the annual trade volume between the two countries continues to stand at the dismal level of merely $150 million. At the same time, relations between the two countries have traditionally been "exemplary", because the inherently cooperative nature denoting them has not just been confined to peacetime situations; rather, it has become more visible when either Turkey or Pakistan has been in dire strait. Nations live in an anarchic world, where every country in its external ties aims only to achieve its real-politic ends. However, such relationships are usually not time-tested. They become less important, or even vanish, when the interests are served. On the other hand, relations based on idealism, even if they are economically unproductive, transcend the tides of history, and their real worth comes to light only during critical situations. Thus, for any country, it should indeed be a blessing to have a friend on whom it can look for help during the times of need. Seen in this context, the traditional course of Turkish-Pakistan relationship can be "exemplary" for other nations. Full Text