Ankara [Turkey]: Turkey and Pakistan have traditionally enjoyed a good relationship based on religious fraternity. There was a distinct upswing in this relationship under the leadership of erstwhile Pakistan PM Imran Khan, who was desirous of being seen as a puritan Islamist and a strong leader.
If Imran Khan is famous in Pakistan for his U-turns, Pakistan is equally notorious for its double face. And Turkey is realising this at the cost of its citizens.
Tens of thousands of illegal Pakistani migrants arrive in Turkey through land route via Iran, in search of a more prosperous future and also in their quest to cross into Europe.
According to Turkish authorities, there has been a significant increase in illegal immigrants from Pakistan entering Turkey over the last four years. The exact number of Pakistani illegal immigrants spread all over Turkey is not known and keeps changing.
At any time, there are 3,000-5,000 Pakistani detainees at various detention centres. This has created large scale unrest in Turkey which is already under the strain of refugee influx from Syria and Afghanistan. What distinguishes the Pakistani immigrants from the other immigrants is their total disregard for Turkish culture, values and women.
In April of this year, a Pakistani immigrant was caught sharing photographs and videos of Turkish women recorded on social media. Similar videos by other Pakistani immigrants also surfaced on social media creating a furore in the Turkish population. Turkish citizens justifiably responded with scathing retorts and the social media was ripe with the “Pakistan Get Out” campaign trending in Turkey.
Illegal Pakistan immigrants are also found indulging in gang wars and other illegal crimes including human and narco-trafficking and ransom kidnapping of tourists visiting Turkey.
This is a major problem for Turkey since it is considered one of the favourite tourist destinations and an important revenue-generating source for the Turkish economy.
There have been a spate of crimes and kidnapping wherein Pakistani immigrants/refugees involvement has been confirmed. The most recent incident was the kidnapping of a Nepali origin tourist in the heart of Turkey. Fortunately, the Turkish police acted on time and were able to apprehend the Pakistani perpetrators.
Instead of educating its citizens, Pakistan appears to have taken an affront to Turkish sentiments. The Pakistani Consulate in Istanbul issued a Whatsapp advisory stating “due to recent events there is a wave of anti-Pakistan sentiments in Turkey and Pakistan citizens are advised to be careful”.
To add fuel to the fire, the Pakistan origin Urdu head of Turkish Radio- Television Corporation (TRT), Furcian Hameed stated that the “frustration of Turkish youth due to unemployment and other problems sometimes biased their behaviour towards foreigners”.
These statements reflect Pakistan’s complete disregard for Turkey and its citizens. A case in point which reflects Pakistan’s attitude towards Turkey is the news article in Pakistan newspaper Dawn given below.
However, Pakistan has failed to institute measures to assuage the Turkish sentiments. Over the years, the Turkish ministries and government have repeatedly appealed to Pakistan to put in place measures to curb the illegal inflow of Pakistan’s illegal migrant population.
The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also the FIA have been in touch with Pakistan counterparts to work out a legal and efficient system but it has been of no avail.
What is concerning to Turkey is the fact that a large number of Pakistan immigrants are working illegally in Turkey and instead of gratitude, they detest Turkish customs and traditions.
Although both the countries’ cooperation has increased in other areas including defence, however, in view of the latest developments Turkey has expressed its displeasure toward Pakistan.
A sign of this displeasure was the absence of President Erdogan from the launching ceremony of Pakistan Navy Frigate PNS Badr on May 20, 2022. President Erdogan had previously graced the ceremony of PNS Babur in Istanbul on August 15, 2022. Pakistan wants to brush aside the angst of its neighbours but Turkey is not a country to put up with such perfidy. (ANI)