Pakistan and Turkey are still often thought of as “allies” of the United States and the broader western bloc. This is in spite of the fact that Turkey’s relations with both the US and EU have plummeted, all the while Ankara forms important economic and security partnerships with fellow Eurasian powers Russia and Iran. Likewise, Pakistani politicians from across the mainstream parties have taken aim at the US for the insulting accusations attempting to tie the Pakistani state with terrorism, when in reality, it has been Islamabad’s previously slavish attitude to cooperating with the US over Afghanistan that has caused many innocent Pakistanis to be the first victims of the terrorism that the US is stirring in the nation. On top of this, the US seeks to extract punitive measures upon Pakistan, not because of terrorism but because of cooperative initiatives between China and Pakistan which threaten US supremacy in the region. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (EPEC) is the true source of American ire directed at Islamabad.
When it comes to contemporary terrorism in Balochistan, as well as terrorism targeting Pakistanis on the frontier with Afghanistan, the United States refuses to express remorse or the kind of condemnation necessary to build trust between alleged allies. Furthermore, in respect of Balochistan specifically, the US does nothing to admonish its new found ally India for the role it continues to play in fomenting violence against civilians.
In Turkey there is a similar situation. While the US formally names the PKK a terrorist group, it never reaches out to Turkey in times of distress to offer the wholesale condemnation of PKK attacks that one would expect from an “ally”. Likewise, after the failed coup in 2016, the US casually brushed off Turkish accusations that members of the Fethullah (Gulen) Terrorist Organisation (FETO), whose leader lives in comfortable exile in the US, was behind the attempted political overthrow of the President. It was instead Russia that not only provided President Erdogan with life-saving intelligence that allowed him to regroup and rally his supporters, but it was also Russia that unequivocally condemned the illegal actions of the coup leaders.
Today, the Turkish Foreign Minister has said,
“Why are certain [Western] countries trying to ignore the terrorists’ actions? Why do not you protect the rights of those Turkish civilians killed in shelling? Do [the Turkish civilians] have to be terrorists for you to protect their rights?”
A Pakistani official could easily say the same in regards to western approaches to Pakistani civilians killed and harmed by terrorists. Ditto when the US fails to condemn terrorist attacks on civilians in countries like Syria. The US considers itself an enemy of Syria and continues to openly back terrorist groups who threaten to undermine peace and security in Syria. But when it comes to supposed allies, the US has taken the same position, only with the added element of hypocrisy.
Whenever a terrorist atrocity happens in the United States, America’s allies and even many of America’s opponents rush to condemn acts of violence upon civilians. Likewise, when a terrorist atrocity happens in Europe, the entire EU as well as its close US ally come together to issue condemnation.
Yet when YPG terrorists fire rockets at mosques and other civilian sites in southern Turkey, the US and EU are deafeningly silent. Likewise, when a YPG linked terrorists blew up a tax office in central Ankara, this too went unnoticed in the west. Furthermore, when extremists on the Afghan-Pakistan border let off a bomb in a major Pakistani city, where are the tears and memorial light displays in the west?
The answer is that they are nowhere to be found, because the US treats victims of genuine terrorism in Pakistan and Turkey will the same contempt they display towards victims of terrorism in “enemy” countries like Syria. Logic would dictate that this means that the US and EU do not view Turkey and Pakistan as its allies. It is time for Ankara and Islamabad to understand this and to act accordingly by making future cooperative agreements with true allies.
In reality, the lack of condemnation from the west, in respect of terrorist attacks on Pakistan and Turkey, represents a tacit support for these atrocities. Furthermore, when western governments are seen supporting groups ranging from the PKK and YPG to Daesh and al-Qaeda, to the Indian state sponsor of terrorism in Pakistan – it is clear who the US is truly cheering on when Pakistani and Turkish civilians die.