By Ayesha (Sylvia) Villalobos
Turkey and Pakistan both are relatively moderate, secular Muslim states in the non-Arab periphery of the Middle East. Turkey being considered as the bridge between Europe and the Middle –East ,serves not only as a Geographical link between East and West but also a religious-social – cultural link. Turkey’s secularism is preserve in its constitution formulated by its founder and first ruler Kemal Attaturk. In contrast, while Pakistan’s original constitution established an Islamic state, the governing system was only “Islamicized” in1980 during the reign of Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq (1977- 1988) as a means of declaring legitimacy.
For over half century, both Pakistan and Turkey suffered its first abandonment by the US when during the Cyprus Crisis in 1962, it was left in a defenceless situation by its NATO allies , and Pakistan suffered its first blow during the 1965 War with India, the US cut off its military and economic aid .Turkey and Pakistan maintained bilateral relationship and it showed similar spirit of brotherhood as witnessed during the past centuries between Indian Muslims and the Ottoman Empire and The Republic of Turkey until 1947.Theoritically, they were poles apart – Turkey pursuing secularism while Pakistan was following Islamism. But the differences of ideology, on the context of respective external outlook, never impede the course of friendly relations. In fact people of both the countries maintained their commitment to Islam, the recent shift in the Turkish elections is a clear manifestation of the people for Islam.
The recent visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Pakistan, in his speech he mentioned that “there are forces who wanted to divide the Islamic world. I hope that Pakistani people would preserve unity and integrity. You should not allow those who aim at spoiling unity in Pakistan. You should exert efforts to establish a more powerful Pakistan”
Pakistan –Turkey relationship in trade, business, investment, defence production, tourism, educational development, infrastructures and cultural collaboration are all areas where the views and interests of both state converge. It should be noted that Pakistan’s skilled worforce and Turkey’s investment created an exceptional amalgamation for joint business and investment ventures in the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. Also he added that “It is natural for peoples of the two countries to help each other in such times as they love each other,” Over the years in times of calamities Pakistan and Turkey never abandoned each other .Proof of that, in addition to the funds donated by the Turk people, Turkey has sent 25 million USD of humanitarian aid to Pakistan to help the flood affectees.
Pakistan and Turkey should also continue to strive to build a community of common regional interests, among Muslims States as this will positively contribute powerful mutual ties. They should both call for the establishment of the Muslim Ummah in the article written by Mr. Raja Ghulam Mujtaba 8 years back gives a clear vision, is still of relevance today. Prime Minister Erdogan speech reflected the same theme that is the base of this Open Letter. Its nothing strange, when things are said from the heart that brings out truth which is for all times to come. This is the urgent need for every Muslim state , Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and Developing Eight (D-8), can also be used for the purpose, even if they have thus far proved to be ineffective institutions of regional cooperation “but with proper reorganisation and restructuring; so that it becomes responsive to the needs of the time with complete authority as a super government of the Muslim Ummah.”.Turkey and Pakistan have both identified their common enemy; this is high time that Muslim Ummah should be established for it is with true and genuine promise. Prime Minister Erdogan further stated “We should be hand in hand. We should work for a more powerful Pakistan and more powerful Turkey.”
Turkey‘s most striking approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict came during the 1967 war.
Turkey did not allow the U.S. to use the Adana military base in support of Israel in 1967.
Turkish Foreign Minister Caglayangil declared after Israel’s occupation of large amounts of
Arab land that “Turkey was against territorial gains made by the use of force.” Turkey
became actively involved in humanitarian aid projects to the Arab countries by sending food,
clothes and medicine to alleviate the sufferings of war. Turkey’s attempts were welcomed by
the Arab states and it was exempted from the brief oil embargo following the 1967 war.
During the war, Turkey sided with the Arab states in the adoption of Resolution 242 that
called for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from the occupied lands. The recent attacked of Israel troops on the Gaza Flotilla placed Turkey again in the center of the battle. Prime Minister Erdogan stated “that Israel should apologize to Turkey and pay compensation. If Israel does not do that, it would be alone in the Middle East.”
Turkey and Pakistan should initiate the first move in calling out for the establishment of the Muslim Ummah. The last Caliphate of the Ottoman Empire ended the Islamic reign in International politics. Had the Caliphate permitted to exist and had won its freedom under the same favourable conditions. It was not beyond the possibility for it to evolve into a peaceful, orderly and dynamic government. Such is the conclusion we must inevitably come to. Decades after that had not the Caliphate been thwarted and sacrificed to the Manifest Destiny of the future superpower across the seas, how different would be the state of the Muslims had been today. Had the Caliphate been allowed by International politics to proceed to build the nation of their own way, free from imperialist clout and its terribly mixed blessing and ministrations, what might have become from that shining moments. The establishment of Muslim Ummah will not only be a celebration of freedom but a re- affirmation of Muslim spirituality. A liberation from imperialistic manipulations which is pyrrhic, for with it Muslims countries become one of the most devastated cities on earth by their infernal carnage. If Muslims refuse to act, to put an end to this Western and Zionists diabolical manipulations sooner Muslims will become an obliterated race in the world. Establishment of the Muslim Ummah is not a choice “it is a final solution”.
Ayesha (Sylvia) Villalobos is a scholar and a political activist from Phillipines. She is a student of InternationalRelations with extensive research in Muslim world. She has her heart vibrating for Muslim unity and creation of a Muslim Common Market that she refers to as ‘Ummah.’ For the past sometime, she has been writing for Opinion Maker.