Turkey seeks Pakistan’s help against PKK, IS

Published: October 15, 2015
Ankara unhappy with US withdrawal of missile systems along its Syria border. PHOTO: INP

Ankara unhappy with US withdrawal of missile systems along its Syria border. PHOTO: INP


Turkey seeks Pakistan’s cooperation in the former’s decisive operation against the Kurdish guerrilla group PKK and the Islamic State, in a development that will test Islamabad’s diplomatic skills to deal with the delicate situation, The Express Tribune has learned.

The request for Pakistan’s support came from the Turkish leadership during talks with Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif, who wrapped up his three-day visit to Turkey’s capital Ankara on Wednesday.

Sources familiar with the discussions between Gen Raheel and Turkey’s top civil and military authorities disclosed that Ankara was looking towards Islamabad for greater anti-terror cooperation as Turkey faced its current challenges.

However, specific details regarding the nature of help Turkey seeks from Pakistan have not been made available.

Turkey is increasingly concerned over threats to its territorial integrity after the United States started withdrawing the Patriot missile systems along its border with Syria this month.

Ankara is not happy with the US move, as Turkey needs the missile system in the backdrop of the current unrest in Syria. Sources said the US move could be the reason why Turkey was now looking towards Pakistan for crucial support.

So far it is unclear how far Islamabad is willing to support Ankara in Turkey’s fight against Kurdish rebels and IS (also known by its Arabic acronym Da’ish), although the army chief has extended ‘total support’ to the Turkish leadership in tackling their current security challenges.

A source said Pakistan could extend material support as well as share its expertise in dealing with insurgency
and terrorism.

On the last day of his visit, Gen Raheel visited the war academy in Turkey and exchanged views with the participants on Pakistan’s successful experience in fighting terrorism, said the chief military spokesman.

Lt Gen Asim Bajwa said the army chief also met the Turkish foreign minister to discuss the regional security situation.

Gen Raheel travelled to Turkey at a time when the country is engaged in two separate battles with the PKK and Da’ish.

In the recent weeks Turkey has stepped up its campaign against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (commonly known as PPK) and the IS.

The PKK, mainly based in northern Iraq and southern Turkey, has been engaged in a bloody insurgency for more than 30 years and demanding self-determination for the Kurds.

This July the three-year ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK ended after the Turkish forces targeted the rebels’ hideouts in northern Iraq to wipe out the group.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (32)

  • nadeem
    Oct 15, 2015 - 9:18AM

    Oh no, not again. First the Saudis, now the Turks want us to be their mercenaries. Palestenians still hate us after Ziaul Haq killed over 700 on behalf of King Hussein of Jordan. We don’t want the Kurds to be hating us as well. They are the nation of Salahaddin Ayubi, the great Muslim conqueror of Jerusalem. I think we should quietly and diplomatically stay out of this issue. But PLEASE, PLEASE, no loud proclamations through the National Assembly as we did with the Saudis. They could have been told discreetly and quietly, instead of through a loudspeaker at the National Assembly (which otherwise sleeps a deep sleep and woke up for just this one issue)Recommend

  • Zak
    Oct 15, 2015 - 9:20AM

    Pakistan has gained the status of a regional power, as in times of crisis, all come to it for assistance and guidance, including China, US, Turkey, Saudi, Bahrain, Belarus, Egypt, Iran, Tunisia, etc.Recommend

  • Honest Pakistani
    Oct 15, 2015 - 10:30AM

    Pakistan and Turkey are tested historical allies, and friends support each other, a friend in need is a friend indeed. Also anyone who tries to please everyone can never be successful. So sides have to be taken, smartly, diplomatically, and efficiently, to make Pakistan stronger. You cannot be neutral in everything. Recommend

  • Saad
    Oct 15, 2015 - 10:43AM

    Material support sounds good. Lets help them like the metro buss’es they gave us (that as at triple rates)………Recommend

  • Bonga
    Oct 15, 2015 - 10:55AM


    Nadeem buddy, i really dont think Turkey is looking for the kind of support as Saudis were, Turkey is a strong country, certainly stronger then Pakistan in conventional warfare, but off course, Pakistan is a war trained military and advisory is valuable. I think they would not be requiring troops but otherwise.Recommend

  • Isloo
    Oct 15, 2015 - 11:02AM

    Pakistan must give all sorts of support to Turkey.. Our only true friend left in this worldRecommend

  • Waseem
    Oct 15, 2015 - 11:08AM

    @Honest Pakistani:

  • Support Turkey
    Oct 15, 2015 - 11:50AM

    Pakistan must support Turkey.Recommend

  • Mubeen
    Oct 15, 2015 - 12:49PM

    I believe, Pakistan should support and help Turkey. because Turkey always help Pakistan and Pakistani people in every field. And Turkey and Pakistan are brothers to eachother.Recommend

  • Ahad
    Oct 15, 2015 - 1:01PM

    Please don’t send any troops anywhere. Give them the equipment at 500% profit margin if they are really willing to fight against extremist they built for Syria.Recommend

  • Jibran
    Oct 15, 2015 - 1:30PM

    This story is based on speculation. That Turkey is not happy with the US’s withdrawal of the patriot system from the Syrian border, and now it turns to Pakistan. It is mind baffling how Pakistan can be of any help here. Turkey definitely has better defence hardware and stronger allies on its side compared to Pakistan.Recommend

  • Tipu
    Oct 15, 2015 - 1:33PM

    Picture says a 1000 words. Why both look so angry in the picture?Recommend

  • goggi (Lahore)
    Oct 15, 2015 - 1:43PM

    Kurdish people are struggling for the right of their freedom and independence just as the people of Palestine and Kashmir. Till recently Kurdish children were not even allowed to learn their language in the schools and Kurdish people are brutally persecuted from the State of Turkey.Recommend

  • AYaZ ShOrO
    Oct 15, 2015 - 3:35PM

    Pakistan should fully support our brother nation turkeyRecommend

  • Junaid
    Oct 15, 2015 - 4:07PM

    whether we like or not soon we would be sucked into syria quagmire.
    Crush ISIS there before it inspires people here.
    turkey shouldnt be allowed to be de stabilized they r strong no doubt but if they want our help we should offer one.Recommend

  • Tribune
    Oct 15, 2015 - 4:10PM

    Well… Hold on everyone!!!
    Have faith in your Military leadership. I hope that everyone believes that till now these guys are doing good. Lets believe that it was Pak Army who did not let us go for Yemen call and same was what each one of us wanted. You may support your NATURAL allies without going into war physically.

    Secondly, you should also remember that Turks are the only nation who respect you for your being Pakistani and they will keep respecting even after generations. They care for you alot, recall Earthquake 2005 if you don’t agree. Lets strengthen the brotherhood by ensuring them that they are not alone.

    Thirdly, with respect to defence equipment, be mindful that they have much more than you have. They don’t need anything from you.

    Finally, please wait and see. Lets all don’t start pushing government by trending unreliable news on Twitter. Let them decide, it wont be that bad InshAllah!Recommend

  • whatever
    Oct 15, 2015 - 4:18PM

    but question is will Pakistan send its army to fight for other countries?Recommend

  • Sunny
    Oct 15, 2015 - 4:26PM

    I wonder what sort of help can we provide, we have yet to deal with our own mess…Recommend

  • Oct 15, 2015 - 4:31PM

    This is news is no surprise. It is an vividly clear now there is only one country in the world which has achieved amazing success against guerrilla warfare. Swat Operation and Zarb-E-Azb are being taught in many military academies around the world now a days. Since Pakistan has broken TTP’s back Pakistan army has emerged as TOP ARMY in the world qualitatively. Fighting against insurgents and guerrilla forces is not easy even countries like US and Russia could not succeed in it. Pakistan is the only country which can defeat ISIS decisively. Stable Turkey and Saudi Arab are in Pakistan’s interest at the moment. Recommend

  • Akbar
    Oct 15, 2015 - 5:08PM

    @Nadeem. You are absolutely correct. But it 2000 palestinians killed not 700. General Raheel is not Gen Zia or Musharraf who have reduced Pakistani army go the stature of mercenaries.
    General Raheel will not accept Turkey’s request to get involved.Recommend

  • mohib
    Oct 15, 2015 - 5:15PM

    no doubt turkey is pakistan’s reliable friend. but as a friend , one should not stand and see your friend taking bad decisions and making bad choices.

    support against , DAESH ok , but against kurds , we have to be careful. i agree with goggi that kurdish people did face a lot of difficulty in turkey so did the iraqi , syrian , iranian kurds. the problem is kurds are living in substantial numbers in 4 countries…getting independence from one means break away regions of four countries.

    also , as a brother country , we should also advise them not get deeply involved in syria by extending military , logistics and intelligence support to anti-asad forces. this war is very unfortunately and wrongly turning out to be a sectarian issue.turkey as a leading muslim country and would be european union country cannot afford controversial issues sticking with its name.

    and about military capability , don’t under rate your army , mr.bonga…Recommend

  • Waseem Sarwar
    Oct 15, 2015 - 5:53PM

    Pakistan should take limited part in Russian collation bombing IS in Syria but Kurdish matter is totally different. Give them freedom for lord’s sake. Recommend

  • TooTrue
    Oct 15, 2015 - 6:26PM

    Should support Turkey. Saudi Arabia is despotic, tyrannical and dynastic, not worthy of any support. Recommend

  • Oct 15, 2015 - 6:50PM

    Dear friends
    Turks in general are very pro-Pakistan. Turkey has always stood by Pakistan in its hour of trouble, much more than any other country.
    I travel to Turkey regularly due to my work with Islamophobia and have met all top leaders of that nation. Every time, I was introduced to Turkish politicians and they found out that I was originally from Pakistan, their faces lit up.
    They are not asking Pakistani “mercenaries”as Nadeem has so erroneously put it but advice and moral support. Turkey has the 2nd largest army in NATO and has no need for Pakistani boots.
    So calm down with your quick remarks about Turkey. Those who are running the countries are much smarter than commentators.

    Kind remarks

    Bashy Quraishy
    Secretary General – EMISCO -European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion – Strasbourg
    Member – Advisory Board – Migration Research Centre – Hacettepe University – Ankara.Turkey
    Chair-Advisory Council-ENAR – BrusselsRecommend

  • pk007
    Oct 15, 2015 - 6:58PM

    Money Talks !Recommend

  • marco
    Oct 15, 2015 - 7:19PM

    Pakistan assistance to Turkey regarding ISIS would be stop its citizens joining ISIS. With so many troublemakers it will be easy for them to join ISIS and foment trouble in Turkey.Recommend

  • Zahid
    Oct 15, 2015 - 8:52PM

    I fully agree that we should stand with ourTurkish brathern in these hours Of need. I have personally experienced during Hajj that Turkish have great respect and love for Pakistans. We can share our experiences to help out them.Recommend

  • cautious
    Oct 15, 2015 - 9:12PM

    @Honest Pakistani:

    Pakistan and Turkey are tested
    historical allies, and friends support
    each other,

    Their a founding member of NATO. Pakistan/Turkey trade is nominal – you have never shared a battlefield and have no defense treaties. You embargoed supplies destined for Turkish troops in Afghanistan. How’s that add up to “tested historical allies”?Recommend

  • Assad
    Oct 15, 2015 - 11:53PM

    @ Bonga
    @ Bashy,

    I agree 100% with you. Pakistan must help Turkey as is needed. None of this is an ask for Pakistani troops on the ground. Turks can benefit from Pakistani COIN experience/expertise and devise their own tactics from then on.Recommend

  • Adem
    Oct 15, 2015 - 11:57PM

    I m Turkish. Kurds are our brothers and more then 1000 yrs we are togather. True they are the grand son of Selahaddin Eyyubi. They are muslim.
    But this terrorist group is not so. Kurdish brothers know this well and on coming election we will see the situation.Recommend

  • Skywalker
    Oct 16, 2015 - 1:26AM

    This sounds fishy, says who that “Turkey seeks Pakistan’s help..” Did anyone see an official statement from Turkey’s FO on this? It would be foolish for Pakistan to get embroiled into another biradar nation’s problems.Recommend

  • pakistani1414918
    Oct 16, 2015 - 4:46AM

    A lot of turkish al-queda terrorists are in Pakistan carrying out attacks. Better take care of them first rather than worrying about Pakistanis going to Turkey to commit similar acts.Recommend

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