By Nijat İsmayilov
Although Peace Spring began as an anti-terrorist operation carried out by Turkey on the Syrian border, it led to significant geopolitical changes for both Turkey and its allies.
The operation, which began on October 9, was successfully finished on October 23, by the statement of the Turkish Defense Ministry. It should be noted that this operation has changed Turkey’s foreign policy priorities and laid the foundation for a new regional cooperation.
Thus, prior to Peace Spring, Turkey collaborated and focused mainly on the Arab countries. Cooperation with the Arab states brought Turkey closer to Arab geography.
Several reasons made Turkey to give up this strategy, first of all Palestine which is mostly defended by Turkey didn’t support the operation as well as the Arab League condemned Turkey for “invasion of Syria”.
Considering that most of the countries that support Turkey are from the Turan geography, we can say that Turkey’s new foreign policy tends to Turkustan. At the same time, Russia supported Turkey by vetoing suspending Turkish operation in the UN Security Council made Turkey which agreed with US agree with Russia at the end of the operation.
Thus, through this operation, Turkey not only cleared its borders from terror, but also determined its real and reliable geopolitical allies. While Syria, Iran, the United States, the Arab League, the European Union, NATO and other countries condemned Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Russia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Northern Cyprus, Qatar and Spain were the countries that supported Turkey and didn’t leave alone.
Turks expresses it as a proverb that Peace Spring makes it clear who is friend who is enemy.
What is the goal of Operation Peace Spring?
Peace Spring was an operation of necessity. It was a threat of terrorism and separatism on the border that made it necessary for Turkey. Turkey has been suffering from security problems in neighboring Syria for eight years.
Civil war, ISIS threat, PKK-PYD-YPG threat has consistently worried Turkey. To overcome these threats, Turkey has already successfully conducted operations in the region, such as the Euphrates Shield and the Olive Branch.
But the last operation, the Peace Spring was very different from both in terms of the purpose and the scope. Thus, the main purpose of this operation is to remove the PKK-PYD-YPG terrorist organization elements which officially declaring independence and calling themselves as “Syrian Democratic Forces” from the Syria, Turkish-Syrian border, near the Euphrates River, entering to the depth of 30 km and the cleaning of the 400 km Turkish-Syrian border, the creation of a safe zone in the area and the returning 3.6 million Syrian refugees from Turkey. The operation ended on October 22 with joining of United States and later Russia, Turkey achieved most of the goals by signing the Sochi agreement with Russia.
Operation Peace Spring once again demonstrated the Azerbaijan-Turkey-Pakistan cooperation. From the first days of the operation, consistent support messages came from Azerbaijan and Pakistan to Turkey. In fact, it didn’t surprise anyone. Because the Azerbaijani-Turkish-Pakistani triad supports each other in almost all national issues, and in the international arena, the trio confidently defends each other’s interests. By the end of this operation, the trilateral alliance will be further expanded…
It should be noted that the alliance between Turkey and Pakistan is not a new trend. Still, the biggest support for Turkey’s independence war of 1919-23 came from the Pakistani people whom the Ottomans referred to as “Muslims of the continent” during that time. Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Pakistan’s independence.
Turkey and Pakistan were also partners in Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) which was a multi-governmental organization. Originally established on the July 21, 1964 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, RCD worked for road and rail connectivity among three countries. In 1979, this organization was dissolved due to Revolution in Iran and Russo-Afghan war.
Political and military cooperation between the parties has intensified, especially since the 1970s. Turkey’s relations with Pakistan have been enhanced through Turkey’s policy of “opening up the Islamic world” during the succession of Najmaddin Erbakan and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The body, named the High Level Cooperation Council in 2009 and later renamed to the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council, was established to further enhance relations between the two countries. Through this mechanism 60 agreements were signed between Turkey and Pakistan on cooperation in the fields of the economy, politics, army, culture and so on.
At the same time, the parties support each other in international arenas. The most obvious example of this has been observed in recent weeks. Referring to the Kashmiri problem on the UN seat on September 24, President Erdogan openly stated that Turkey supports Pakistan in this matter and at the same time urged the international community not to remain silent in the cry of Muslims living in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Shortly after this, Turkey launched its peacekeeping operation on October 9, but Pakistan was still one of the first countries to support it. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a statement on October 10 that Pakistan supports Turkey in this just fight.
Pakistan also supports Turkey in its fight against FETO. In December 2018 Pakistan annexed FETO schools into the Turkish Education Foundation.
But how do Turkish politicians evaluate Turkey-Pakistan’s relations and Pakistan’s support on Peace Spring?
We addressed to one of Turkey’s most famous politicians, former member of the Turkish Parliament, and head of Turkey’s Center for Strategic Studies, Dr. Sinan Oghan:
“The historic friendship between Pakistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan is a manifestation of the support which these three states have on each other’s national issues. At the same time, Turkey and Azerbaijan are always supporting their ally Pakistan.
When we look at the list of countries supporting Turkey’s Peace Spring, we can see that the names of the countries of Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Hungary on the head list. This is also a very important issue for Turkey. Ankara appreciates this support very much. As Pakistan supports Azerbaijan’s rightful position on the Karabakh issue, Pakistan still supports Turkey’s rightful operations in northern Syria.
Pakistan and Turkey have historical ties, and the matching regional interests. Turkey’s military cooperation with Pakistan also plays a special role. Many Pakistani officials have studied in Turkey. Turkey has played a special role in the modernization of the Pakistani army. Pakistan is currently taking steps to promote political, military, economic cooperation and historical ties between the two countries, defending Turkey’s interests. We are grateful to the Pakistani government as Turkish nation,” Oghan said.
Writer of this article Nijat İsmayilov is a political expert and journalist from Baku. He was educated degree in Politology in Sumqayit State University Azerbaijan. The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk.