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– China, Growing Superpower
China, Russia, Pakistan, Turkey
Superpower Circle: Reality Check
by Polina Tikhonova
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
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
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
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
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
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.