Turkey To Join Pakistan, China, Russia Superpower Bloc?

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Turkey To Join Pakistan, China, Russia Superpower Bloc?
By R4BIA.com (http://www.r4bia.com/en/media-materials) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Turkey has just fueled speculations about a possible superpower rectangle between Turkey, Pakistan, China and Russia. While indications that the Pakistan-China-Russia superpower triangle is becoming a reality keep piling up, other nations are expressing their interest in joining the new bloc, which could become a game-changer for Asia and the world as a whole.

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Just days after his visit to Pakistan in mid-November, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan suggested that his country should pursue joining a bloc dominated by China and Russia. Erdogan said his country doesn’t need to be fixated on joining the European Union and should join forces with China, Russia and Pakistan instead. Although Turkey has had decades-long hopes of joining the EU, apparently there’s an alternative for Ankara if the EU keeps stalling talks about Turkey’s membership.

Turkey wants to be part of Pakistan-China-Russia triangle

If Turkey–which has just held talks with Pakistan about strengthening their economic and military ties–joins the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), it would be a clear indication that Pakistan, China and Russia are gaining a new-old friend on their team. If Turkey gives up its efforts to join the EU, we could see the rise of the Pakistan-China-Russia-Turkey rectangle, an even more powerful alternative to the Pak-China-Rus triangle.

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In fact, Erdogan said he had already discussed the idea of his country joining the SCO, which is dominated by China, Russia and Central Asian nations, with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Erdogan’s comment that Turkey doesn’t need to join the EU “at all costs” is a breakthrough development in Turkey-EU relations, which have reached their lowest in the aftermath of the failed anti-government coup on July 15.

Is the SCO the new EU after the U.K.’s Brexit?

The EU is currently reeling from the loss of the United Kingdom, which voted in favor of leaving the European bloc this past summer. Turkey’s setting off on a course to joining the security bloc dominated by China and Russia is an indication that Ankara also doesn’t want to put up with Europe’s accusations that Turkey is losing its democratic freedoms.

“I hope that if there is a positive development there, I think if Turkey were to join the Shanghai Five, it will enable it to act with much greater ease,” Erdogan told reporters on his plane while traveling back from a visit to Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

The SCO, which was formed in 2001, is a regional security bloc that consists of China, Russia and four Central Asian nations: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Another indication that Turkey is seeing a prosperous future if it sides with Pakistan, China and Russia is the fact that Turkish investors have expressed an increased interest in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). If Turkey becomes part of the CPEC, it would be a game-changer for Ankara as well as Beijing and Islamabad, co-founders of the project.

Pakistan and Turkey reaffirming their friendship

Turkey and Pakistan have recently seen a huge boost in their bilateral relations. During his visit to Pakistan nearly two weeks ago, Erodgan said Ankara and Islamabad should strengthen their strategic partnership and drive bilateral trade up. Turkey and Pakistan have enjoyed close cultural, historical and military ties for decades, and Ankara’s support of Islamabad in its decades-long conflict with India serves as the foundation of their growing strategic partnership.

China, Pakistan’s closest ally in the region, is also enjoying close economic and military ties with Turkey. Ankara is also one of Pakistan’s key weapons sellers, while it also purchases arms from it.

Turkey, China and Russia favor Pakistan over India

From a diplomatic point of view, China, Russia, Pakistan and Turkey are already manifesting signs of forming some kind of a bloc, or superpower rectangle, if you may. While Ankara supports Pakistan’s position on holding a plebiscite under the United Nations to decide if the disputed Kashmir region should be part of Pakistan or India, Erdogan’s country went far beyond that.

At a Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting in November, Turkey supported Pakistan’s membership in the group, which regulates international nuclear commerce, while rejecting India’s bid. China and Russia also sided with Ankara and rejected India’s bid to join the NSG.

Interestingly, neither India nor Pakistan has ever signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). But Turkey, China and Russia apparently see that it’s safe to accept Pakistan while rejecting India’s bid to join the group that regulates trade in atomic material. If that’s not an indication of friendship and commitment to have each other’s back, then what is it?

Pakistan to buy super-fast vessels from Turkey and China

To further strengthen ties with both China and Turkey, Pakistan already has plans to purchase super-fast vessels from Beijing and Ankara to form a special squadron to be positioned at the Gwadar port in Balochistan, according to the Hindustan Times.

“A squadron may have four to six warships,” an unnamed Pakistan Navy official said during the IDEAS 2016 defense exhibition in Pakistan, according to the media outlet.

The official added that the super-fast ships would be purchased “soon” because Pakistan sees an urgent need to have a powerful fleet positioned at Gwadar to secure the deep sea port. The official also revealed that two warships have already been deployed at the seaport.

China has already agreed with the Pakistan Navy to send its naval vessels to safeguard Gwadar and trade under the CPEC.

Pakistan-China-Russia-Turkey rectangle: Is it happening?

Interestingly, Erdogan has previously expressed interest in joining forces with China and Russia in the SCO. But the Turkish president has always stopped short of formally requesting to join the bloc because it would disrupt Ankara’s long-standing EU membership bid.

In November 2015, Erdogan seemingly gave up his plans to join the SCO after his country’s air force downed a Russian warplane over Syria, which resulted in tensions between the two nations. But a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, and during their latest meeting in August, Erdogan and Putin expressed mutual interest in restoring their once-close ties.

While Russia and Turkey are still catching up and amending their relations, China and Pakistan are enjoying very close and prosperous ties with Ankara. But if the four nations decide to formally show the world their intentions to stand by each other – and form the Pakistan-China-Russia-Turkey rectangle – it would be a diplomatic, military and economic game-changer for the whole world.

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Polina Tikhonova is a writer, journalist and a certified translator. Over the past 7 years, she has worked for a wide variety of top European, American, Russian, and Ukrainian media outlets. Polina holds a Master's Degree in English Philology from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the Saint Petersburg State University. Her articles and news reports have been published by many newspapers, magazines, journals, blogs and online media sources across the globe. Polina is fluent in English, German, Ukrainian and Russian.
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7 COMMENTS

  1. Considering the fact that the timescale of events on national levels involves years and not months, things are changing for the positive at a blistering pace for both Pakistan and Turkey. So this comment of yours is already obsolete.

  2. You need to check India’s military deals. Russia is still India’s biggest arms supplier. While it’s true that the deals with Russia has fallen, that’s pretty reasonable. In the past, India used to import 75% of its imported military equipment from Russia. That isn’t a relation between equals. That’s pretty much over dependence. So India wanting to diversify it’s military portfolio and make the market more competitive is normal.

    Also, be realistic. India is much geographically and ecnomically larger than Pakistan so it’s impossible for Pakistan to fill the void if India ever broke off with Russia. Pakistan does not need as many weapons as India after all. Russia is aware of this which is why they refused to sell the SU 35’s to Pakistan and chose to sell another type instead.

    It is true that the military op. between Russia and Pakistan indicates a growth in their relationship. However growth between the two does not indicate detoriation in the ties of India and Russia. China for example has growing ties with almost every nation, but that does not mean it’s relations are detoriating with other nations because of it. It’s the same for Russia. Their relations are becoming warmer with Pakistan, but they haven’t weakened with India. Quoting a Russian Military official

    “Our relationship with Pakistan has existed for a while. In some areas it has broadened but I will not call it as significant change”

    I think this statements reflects Russia’s stand with Pakistan. As for the military exercise, I’ll use this Russian quote,
    “India should not be concerned about military exercises between Russia and Pakistan because the theme of the exercise is anti-terror fighting. It’s in India’s interests that we teach the Pakistani Army not to use itself for terror attacks against India. And the exercise was not held in any sensitive or problematic territories like the Pakistan-occupied Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir”.

    The fact that Russia chose to make a statement supporting India’s surgical strike(which may or may not have happened) even though other countries chose to remain neutral is another sign that Russia still supports India over Pakistan.

  3. 1. India is tilting towards closer ties with the US. India, which was once the biggest buyer of Russian arms systems, is now preferring American weapons. Regardless of what you believe this is a big deal for Russia. Russia makes a lot of money selling arms. Pakistan represents to fill the void, especially now as Pakistan relation with the US is on shaky ground

    2. Russia being the long time rival of the US, would also like to deter US influence in SA.

    Contrary to what you believe the recent drills by Pakistan and Russia are no small matter.
    This was the first time in decades, as Pakistan and Russia were on opposite sides during the cold war. A lot of credit goes to Pakistan for the breaking up of the USSR. Regardless, that was in the past. We live in a time were alliances are shifting.

    The ball is truly is in India’s court. I hope she decides to play nice.

  4. Haha. I dont know about butt-hurt Indians. But if you believe that this report is completely correct, could you please clarify the doubts I raised in my previous post? I honestly cant take the reports of someone who says that Russia is getting closer to Pakistan over India simply because of a military exercise when even China and India hold similar exercises. And please please dont say CPEC. Just a simple glance at the world map shows that if Russia transported goods to Europe through Pakistan, they would have to take an avoidable detour. There are better routes available.

    Similarly, the fact that the writer in other articles has mentioned that France is interested in joining CPEC when the only thing France has said is that an official has said that they are now interested in the whole of South Asia instead of only China as a result of CPEC. The writer seems to be twisting too many facts. So, id like you to clarify my doubts.

  5. While its true that Turkey and China favour Pakistan over India, I fail to understand how the writer decided the same for Russia. The only basis for that the author has mentioned is
    1) Russia-Pak military exercise:
    What the writer failed to note is thst even China has held military exercises with India. That doesn’t mean that China has chosen India over Pak. So why would Russia-Pak exercise mean something? Plus Russia has already denied joining CPEC.

    2) Russia denied India but accepted Pak NPT claim:
    Yes, Russia denied India. And rightly so. If a nation which hasn’t signed NPT terms. gets to join, there isn’t any point to the treaty. Russia hasn’t accepted Pakistan either in NPT as far as I know. Unless the writer has some secret connectione to Putin.

    The writer seems to be pretty heavily prejudiced against India and America, seeing all her other reports. I mean, a report like Japan and India seal a nuclear deal to ‘scare’ China? Or will/might Trump/India start World/China war Seriously?

    Valuewalk should really stick to unbiased reporting. These articles really damage it’s credibility. If the writer likes Pakistan so much, she should write the way the Pakistani newspaper Dawn does.

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