Thursday, November 6, 2008

Turkey Supports Pakistan in Dispute with U.S.

Further evidence of emerging Turkish proclivities to assert a stronger, more independent role in the region. From the EDM:
On October 27 Pakistan's Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani began a four-day official visit to Turkey. In Ankara Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed Gilani with full military honors at the Prime Ministry (Hurriyet, October 28). During meetings with Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul, Gilani discussed myriad matters of mutual interest, agreeing to sign framework agreements for cooperation in science and technology. Economic issues were also high on the agenda; the two prime ministers agreed to increase bilateral trade from its current level of around $700 million to $1 billion as soon as possible and to fast-track negotiations for a Preferential Trade Agreement. After three days Gilani flew to Istanbul to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) (, October 30).

Economic issues aside, however, Gilani's greatest accomplishment was to persuade Erdogan to agree to use the Turkish government's good offices to endeavor to rein in U.S. aerial raids into Pakistani territory. Gilani's press secretary, Zahid Bashir, confirmed to the Pakistani media that Turkey had informed Pakistan that it would use its "influence" as a NATO member and U.S. ally to attempt to persuade Washington to stop the U.S. incursions into Pakistan’s territory (The News International, November 2).
For full article, including analysis of Turkey's role in Afghanistan, click here.

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