On January 13, the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkey met in Islamabad, where they issued a joint declaration of mutual solidarity in their respective territorial conflicts: Pakistan’s with India over Kashmir, Azerbaijan’s with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, and Turkey’s with Greece and Cyprus over coastal waters in the Aegean. The declaration, writes Jonathan Spyer, is evidence of a growing closeness between Ankara and Islamabad:
Turkey is now Pakistan’s fourth-largest source of arms, as Islamabad seeks alternatives to the West for its source of weaponry (the main exporter of arms to Pakistan is now China). [Moreover], Pakistan is a nuclear power, with 160 deployed warheads. Erdogan, in a September 2019 speech quoted by Reuters, said, “Some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads, not one or two. But [they tell us] we can’t have them. This, I cannot accept.” He continued, “We have Israel nearby, as almost a neighbor. They scare [other nations] by possessing these. No one can touch them.”
Both Turkey and Pakistan are also eager to connect their ambitions to the strategic advance of China. Turkey is of importance to Beijing as a transportation hub on the way to the Mediterranean and to Europe, and as a priority country for investment in infrastructure. Turkey is an observer country at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. It is noteworthy that Erdogan’s efforts to present himself as a leader of the world’s Muslims and of all peoples ethnically associated with the Turks does not extend to solidarity with the Turkic Muslim Uighurs, on whose fate he has been notably silent.
Pakistan’s relations with China are deep and of long standing, related to the joint geopolitical rivalry with India.
Read more on Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security: https://jiss.org.il/en/spyer-turkey-pakistan-inside-the-ankara-islamabad-axis/