China, Russia, Pakistan, Turkey Superpower Circle: Reality Check

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The friendship between Turkey and Pakistan may have just given birth to a superpower circle involving Ankara, Islamabad, Russia and China. While Turkey and Pakistan are celebrating 70 years of diplomatic ties, the decades-long mutual trust and cultural, diplomatic and economic relations between Ankara and Islamabad are also bringing together China and Russia to form a formidable four-nation circle.

The brotherly relations between Turkey and Pakistan can trace their roots back several centuries. This very fact has laid the groundwork for bringing together two more nations that could benefit from a superpower circle – Russia from Turkey’s side and China from Pakistan’s side.

The speakers of the Turkish and Pakistani parliaments met on Monday to discuss strengthening the partnership between two nations that share close religious, cultural and economic ties. There are several reasons why closer ties between the two nations can fuel the machine that is the China-Russia-Pakistan-Turkey superpower circle and power it to run the world.

Turkey wants to join China-Russia bloc via Pakistan

The two nations have signed hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of military deals and have been trading more and more diplomatic trips. But it was Turkey that first sparked speculations about a possible superpower circle with Pakistan, China and Russia in November. That’s when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly declared that his country would pursue joining a bloc dominated by China and Russia and give up its hopes to join the European Union, which Ankara has expressed interest in joining for decades.

Erdogan declared that Turkey should join forces with Pakistan, China and Russia amid the EU’s criticism toward the Turkish regime’s seemingly dictatorship policies in the wake of the failed anti-government coup in July 2016. In fact, the EU has been stalling talks about Turkey’s membership, something that has enraged the Erdogan regime and motivated it to seek other powerful blocs as an alternative.

In recent months, Erdogan has publicly enhanced his interest in joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) led by Russia and China. If Ankara joins what is arguably the most ambitious organization in Eurasia, it would be a game-changer not only for Europe and Asia but also the world as a whole. It could also give rise to the China-Russia-Pakistan-Turkey superpower circle, which is an even more powerful and formidable political, economic and military bloc compared to the China-Rus-Pak triangle.

Why is it time for the Turkey-Pakistan-China-Russia circle?

Last week, the Turkish military band Janissary Mehter participated in the Pakistan Day military parade and was met with a standing ovation when it played “Jeeway Jeeway (Long Live) Pakistan.” This was the first time that the military band, which was established in 1299, took part in the Pakistan Day parade.

Last year, Turkey refused to back India’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) while supporting Pakistan’s membership in the NSG. Despite having close trade ties with India, Turkey has remained loyal to its brotherly nation Pakistan on many international issues, including the dispute between Islamabad and New Delhi in Kashmir.

In November, Erdogan visited Islamabad and reiterated that his country is eager to strengthen ties with Pakistan. His visit came months after the Turkish President visited Moscow, where he and Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to strengthen trade, economic, military and diplomatic ties. China and Turkey, meanwhile, share deep economic and military ties, which means the four nations are coming together from all directions and could even form a four-nation superpower circle in the coming months.

In May, China plans to host its first major summit called “One Belt One Road,” which is focused on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The nation is expected to seek partnership support from Russia and Turkey at the summit.

Erdogan to join China, Russia-led bloc, not EU

Erdogan has been facing an incredible amount of criticism from the West in the past few months, which would make more sense if his country officially joins forces with China, Russia and Pakistan and gives up its decades-long hopes of joining the EU, something the Turkish president suggested a few months ago.

Turkey now has more chances of joining the China- and Russia-led SCO than joining the EU. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said earlier this month that Turkey should expect deeper relations within the SCO, as Ankara holds vital importance for Eurasia and has been a prominent ally for the organization. In fact, in December, China said that it would be willing to consider Turkey’s application to join the Chinese- and Russian-dominated bloc.

Erdogan has loudly declared that Turkey doesn’t need to join the EU “at all costs” and should instead pursue joining the SCO. His statements come in the aftermath of plummeting relations and a lack of trust between the West and Ankara after he purged his country’s military following the failed coup in July 2016. While the West criticized the Erdogan regime’s methods of punishing the organizers of the attempted coup, Pakistan, China and Russia stood firm in their support and showed solidarity with Turkey.

Is the Turkey-Pakistan-China-Russia superpower circle happening?

The four allied nations – Turkey, Pakistan, China and Russia – seem to be moving rapidly towards the creation of a four-nation superpower circle, as each country has stepped up efforts to strengthen ties within that circle.

China relies on stability in its relations with Turkey while enjoying a closer partnership in many areas with Pakistan and Russia. Russia is restoring its once-brotherly ties with Turkey, is warming up to China on all fronts and is even seemingly abandoning India, its top Asian ally for decades, to strengthen ties with Pakistan. Pakistan, meanwhile, has been particularly close to both China and Turkey for decades, and in recent years has started getting diplomatic, economic and military support from Russia.

Turkey, meanwhile, remains one of Pakistan’s major allies in terms of diplomacy, trade, economic ties and defense cooperation. Ankara has enjoyed stable trade, economic and military ties with China, but their bilateral relations are set to skyrocket after China’s support for the Erdogan regime over the attempted July 2016 coup. Ankara is also restoring ties with Moscow after their relations took a turn for the worse after the Turkish Air Force downed a Russian jet in 2015.

Nothing seems to be standing in their way of creating a powerful circle of four allied nations between Ankara, Islamabad, Beijing and Moscow.

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