Pakistan-Turkey Defense Cooperation: Exploring Policy Options

Pakistan and Turkey are fostering a growing defense cooperation, a testament to their historical and cultural ties. The two nations are exploring policy options to strengthen their defense collaboration, which could have significant implications for regional and global security dynamics. The growing defense cooperation is a testament to the enduring bonds of friendship and shared interests between the two nations. The world will closely monitor the outcome, as it could significantly contribute to stability and peace in an uncertain world.

Pakistan and Turkey, two Islamic nations, have a strong relationship marked by mutual respect, collaborations, and a shared vision for their future. The relationship is deeply intertwined with their socio-political landscape, with shared culture, faith, and mutual respect underpinning their defense ties. Soft power, such as cultural exchange, has been a cornerstone of Pakistan-Turkey relations. Both nations have shown solidarity on issues concerning the Islamic community, such as Palestine, Kashmir, and global Islamophobia.

The military dimension of the Pakistan-Turkey relationship is often highlighted, but their defense industry collaborations are equally significant. Both nations have synergized to produce state-of-the-art equipment, such as next-gen fighter aircraft, naval frigates, and armored vehicles. Collaborative ventures allow for cost-saving and technological exchange, ensuring both nations stay at the forefront of defense innovation. Both countries participate in each other’s defense exhibitions, showcasing their defense industries and fostering new collaboration avenues and tech-transfer agreements.

Pakistan and Turkey’s defense ties may lead to new regional alliances, with countries like India seeking closer ties with Western nations like the U.S. and Europe. Arab nations, like Saudi Arabia and UAE, may view their collaboration cautiously due to Turkey’s Middle East ambitions. To strengthen their defense ties, Pakistan and Turkey can explore joint ventures in satellite technology, cyber defense mechanisms, and space research. Having a unified stance on mutual concerns can influence decision-making on global defense and security forums.

Building shared defense infrastructure, establishing joint crisis management protocols, and engaging civil society, think tanks, and academic institutions in defense dialogues can bring fresh perspectives and innovative solutions. Despite challenges such as global powers’ pressures, significant financial outlays, and potential diverging strategic interests, the defense tapestry of Pakistan and Turkey is intricate, woven with history, trust, shared aspirations, and strategic imperatives.

Pakistan and Turkey have long-standing historical and cultural ties, with a shared interest in the Middle East and South Asia. Their proximity to unstable regions like Afghanistan and the Middle East has led to a convergence in combating terrorism, promoting regional stability, and ensuring energy resource free flow. While the prospects of strengthened defense cooperation between the two countries are promising, challenges include complex regional dynamics, potential opposition from other nations, and balancing partnerships with countries like China and the United States. Both countries must ensure their defense collaboration aligns with broader foreign policy objectives and does not undermine their relationships with other key partners.

Defense Collaboration: A Growing Partnership

Pakistan and Turkey have been strengthening their defense collaboration over the years, focusing on exchange of military expertise, joint military exercises, and defense technology cooperation. The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2019 on the “Development of Military Cooperation” marked a significant milestone. Both countries have consistently supported each other on international platforms, with Pakistan’s unwavering support for Turkey during the attempted coup in 2016 and Turkey’s support for Pakistan’s stance on the Kashmir issue.

As Pakistan and Turkey consider the future of their defense cooperation, several policy options are under consideration. Increasing the frequency and scale of joint military exercises can improve interoperability and serve as a deterrent to potential aggressors. Expanding cooperation in defense technology transfer can allow both countries to access advanced military equipment and reduce reliance on external sources.

Both countries can explore deeper intelligence sharing and cooperation in counterterrorism operations, contributing to regional stability. Strengthening naval cooperation can ensure maritime trade routes security and respond to emerging challenges in the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean. Diplomatic coordination on issues of mutual concern can amplify their influence on the global stage. Expanding cooperation within multilateral forums can help advocate for shared interests and amplify their voices in the international community.

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