Spirited Erdogan speaks his heart out
Although President Erdogan has addressed Pakistan’s Parliament thrice before, the fourth one on Friday was unprecedented in its own right.
It seemed more than a visiting head of state’s ceremonial speech to another country’s legislature. What made it different from the customary handwritten speeches were the emotions that Erdogan’s demeanour reflected even in an incomprehensible language.
Not only did the Turkish President espoused Pakistan’s sensitivities on Kashmir but also ensured to help it steer through crisis it has been facing due to FATF. His emphatic support to Pakistan was not mere favour as he repeatedly said that the relations between the two countries surpass the traditional concept and bound of bilateral relations. Instead, the emotional President insisted the relations are based on love, not only with the people of contemporary Pakistan, but with their ancestors.
Time and again, Erdogan talked about the historical connection between Turkey and Pakistan that he traced from the establishment of Mughal rule in India. He said that Zaheeruddin Babar, whose dynasty ruled over 350 years in the Subcontinent, was a Turk, implying the subsequent assimilation of the centuries-old cultural contact between Turkey and Pakistan.
Then Erdogan repeatedly commemorated the forefathers of Pakistanis who espoused the Khilafat Movement in twentieth-century India. He particularly mentioned the contributions of Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar and Maulana Shaukat Ali during the Khilafat movement. Many of us know that a huge number of Muslims sacrificed their homes, and countless women sold their jewellery, an ultimate step by oriental standards.
But the acknowledgement of Erdogan after over 100 years, and in so critical time for Pakistan when it is in crisis on various fronts, signifies an improved state of affairs in bilateral relations. He spoke his heart out when he said “Pakistan’s every problem pains Turkey.”
President Erdogan also specially mentioned the support extended by the government and the people of Pakistan when the Army in Turkey made an abortive effort to topple his government. He also praised the action of the Pakistani Government for handing over the Turkish schools in Pakistan to the Go9vernment of Turkey.
For Pakistan in general and the PTI-led government in particular, Erdogan’s visit suggests a diplomatic relief, if not a victory amid the most critical times.–Abubakr Farrukh