Pakistani media on Turkey in Afghanistan


New Delhi, Sep 25 : Turkeys pro-activism in Afghanistan and the region, and its strident rhetoric attempting to project itself as a lead player in the Muslim world has led to its activities being thoroughly scrutinized by the media in different countries. In the complex dynamics that dominates the Muslim world, the bullish approach by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has led to speculation being made about the future of the country and its role in areas of conflict ? whether it is Afghanistan or Nagorno-Karabakh. In this backdrop, the freewheeling narrative that the media creates in Pakistan conjuring up theories that suit their requirement, is often interesting. The 'Daily Ummat' on September 23, carried an article which mentioned that Turkey was responsible for "spoiling India's game" in Afghanistan. According to the article, Turkey has been consistently alerting the Taliban about India's "moves and plans", besides advising Taliban to refrain from maintaining trade relations with India. The newspaper goes on to mention that Turkish authorities had informed the Taliban that the present Indian government was behind the anti-Taliban propaganda on social media in Urdu and Dari languages. In an attempt to convey its own messaging on future Indian role in Afghanistan, the paper mentions that Turkey has apparently forewarned the Taliban on the opening of Indian embassy and consulates in Afghanistan stating that any such activity has to be undertaken as per international norms and diplomatic principles. The article goes on to mention that "India is still conspiring to create distrust amongst Pakistan, Taliban, Turkey and Iran". It further mentions that Turkey has agreed for unconditional cooperation with the Taliban in the Health, Aviation, Education sectors without any vested interests and "only because Pakistan is an Islamic nation and that Turkey has no other intentions". The article thus attempts to negate any strategic interest that Turkey might have in the region. Interestingly, the paper mentions that Turkey has warned the Taliban to keep distance from India, Russia, France and some other countries because these countries would attempt to leverage their geostrategic advantage to ensure greater presence of their people and assets in Afghanistan which would be detrimental to the interest of Afghanistan. As per the article, Turkish government advisors have asked Taliban to strive to remove the names of those leaders who are part of the current dispensation, from the Black List of the UN so that they could be acceptable across the globe for conducting diplomatic activities. Ankara has also assured the Taliban that Afghan MPs currently staying in Turkey will not become part of any conspiracy or movement against the Taliban government and that they would be convinced to return to Afghanistan soon. Currently there are some 300 Afghan Senate and Parliament members staying in Turkey on the condition that they would not become part of any anti-Taliban agenda. Interestingly, the article also mentions in conclusion that Turkey has warned India that it should take lessons from Armenia's defeat against Azerbaijan recently, and that, Turkey will "never leave its friends alone and that Pakistan is second home for the Turkish people". There is no doubt that the article is smartly crafted by the 'Daily Ummat' to indulge in India bashing using the Turkish narrative and in an attempt to portray Turkey as having a greater hold over the Taliban and taking on the mantle of stewardship of the Taliban government as part of the larger Islamic fraternity. /IANS


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