Amid ‘Growing Geopolitical Convergences’ Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan’s Trilateral Meet

The second trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan is being held in Islamabad on Thursday. Earlier on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called on Prime Minister Imran Khan who thanked Turkey for its steadfast support on the Jammu & Kashmir dispute and highlighted the detrimental PM Modi government’s actions posing a threat to peace and security in the region –a view generally held by many independent observers south of The Tropic of Cancer.

The two countries are close, hold similar traditional values and traditiond which transcend the transactionalism aspects of geopolitics and international relations to further interests.

“Pakistan’s relations with Turkey are special. Now these relations are being built to another level. Both countries are using close and growing geopolitical convergences to build deeper ties to promote bilateral traditional and non-traditional security interests in a manner that encompass all aspects of interactions,” Syed Muhammad Ali, Director Strategic Affairs, Center for Aerospace and Security Studies tells DesPardes.

Was the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan also discussed? It seems so according to the press release of the meet. It says “Prime Minister Khan underscored the importance Pakistan attached to a peaceful solution of the conflict in Afghanistan. In this regard, he highlighted Pakistan’s positive contribution to the Afghan peace process and the imperative for all Afghan stakeholders to work for bringing down violence leading to ceasefire and securing an inclusive and broad-based political settlement”.

The ongoing subject of Islamophobia was also discussed. Khan reportedly emphasized the importance of working to combat Islamophobia and promote better understanding of the reverence Muslims have for the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

“Reaffirmation of natural bond of two brotherly people – Turks have always been on our side and supported us in thick and thin,” Amb. G R Baloch says.

Commenting on the trilateral meet, an Asia-Pacific based analyst who has authored “Cold War in the High Himalayas” and is a US-China relations including South Asia expert, tells DesPardes, it’s “an interesting trilateral, the 2nd since 2017, of Turkish-Pak-Azeri Foreign Ministerial meeting. This relatively new, otherwise quiescent, grouping now reviving itself after three years is notable, mainly because all three could do with diplomatic boosting. The timing is interesting because it comes shortly after Azeri ‘victory’ over Armenia over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azeri victory was sealed with Turkish assistance and the deployment of Russian peacekeepers. Pakistan hosting the two anti-Armenian protagonists shows where Pakistan stands on this dispute. Pak links to Azebaijan gives it a potentially countervailing leverage in Central Asia against Delhi’s presence in Tajikistan, and Turkish ties buy it space narrowed by the seeming breach with Riyadh. Turkey’s falling out with the USA means Ankara, too, needs new friends. This triadic diplomacy provides all three with perceptual gains while costing little. What matters is how far they decide to invest in the relationship”.

Security and defense is no doubt in the first line of cooperation between the three countries, a Pakistani envoy based in a EU capital says.

“The second meet is (however) significant amid changing dynamics globally and in the region”, says a Dubai-based Gulf observer.

The first round of Trilateral Meeting between the three nations “facing challenges,” says an observer, was held in Baku in November 2017.

A Pakistani defense official stationed at a major Mideast capital calls it “(just) a trilateral meeting. Nothing special. Usual activity.”

A Pakistani defense and security analyst who lived in one of the major Middle East capitals for more than a couple of years, has his own take on it. He says “Saudis must be nervous…(as it is a) tectonic realignment in the international and Muslim world order. The ride is going to be bumpy and my bet is on Pakistani side/alliance. The Saudi-led group under the auspices of US/Israel is sleep walking into self destruction”.

Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan last year announced they will fight Islamophobia on global basis –a mega task by all counts, some observers say.