GP Insights

GP Insights # 255, 16 February 2020

Pakistan's rapprochement with Turkey, following Imran Khan's visit to Malaysia
Abigail Miriam Fernandez

What happened?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Pakistan's capital Islamabad for a two-day official visit on 13 February 2020. Erdogan was accompanied by a high-level delegation and welcomed by Prime Minister Khan together with his Cabinet members. Erdogan is to co-chair a high-level meeting with Khan during his visit. 

The Pakistan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC) in its joint declaration referring to J&K and Afghanistan, stated that "the two sides underscored need for resolution of all outstanding disputes between Pakistan and India, including the core issue of Jammu & Kashmir through a sustained dialogue process and in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions" and "Sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan can only be achieved through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process." 

What is the background?

Recently Imran Khan visited Malaysia during 3-4 February 2020. Earlier, in December 2019, both Malaysia and Turkey led a summit in Kuala Lumpur. Pakistan had confirmed its participation at the summit but withdrew after Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries raised concerns over it. Riyadh viewed the summit as an attempt to create a new Islamic bloc.

President Erdogan's visit comes after Islamabad's ties with Ankara suffered due to the last-minute withdrawal from Kuala Lampur Summit in December 2019. The visit also comes at a time where Khan is hoping to prevent being blacklisted at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting that is to begin. 

What does it mean?

Khan's recent visit to Malaysia and the visit of the Turkish President to Islamabad shows Pakistan's rapprochement to Malaysia and Turkey respectively. Pakistan and Malaysia continue to thrive on the bilateral front with Islamabad considering Kuala Lumpur central to its East Asia pivot.

These visits are aimed at increasing support to Pakistan's position in its immediate neighbourhood at a time when Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and other OIC leaders, have adopted a pragmatic approach.

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