AUG 15, 2018: The Trump administration’s recent decision to double tariffs on Turkish aluminium and steel imports has been widely criticized by Pakistani citizens.
Social media users in Pakistan have launched a campaign calling for purchase of Turkish products and lira.
“If you want to help Turkey, please buy their products and lira and visit Turkey instead of other countries for vacations,” said Arshad Zaman, a Twitter user from Pakistan.
Ali Osman, another Pakistani, wrote on Twitter: “In early 1920s, Muslims of the sub-continent stood by Turkish brothers when they were in trouble, and now after 100 years we will again stand by our Turkish brothers and sisters.”
Turkey and the U.S. are currently experiencing rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions on Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul for not releasing American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism charges in Turkey.
U.S. President Donald Trump ramped up his attack on Turkey by increasing U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminium and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
Prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan on Tuesday extended his support to Turkey.
In a tweet, Khan assured Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan and the Turkish people that “we (the people of Pakistan) are praying for their success in dealing with the severe economic challenges confronting them”.
He also expressed hope that the country would succeed in coming out of the crisis, “as they have always succeeded against adversities in their glorious history”.
A day earlier, the Foreign Office had also announced the country’s support for Turkey and had insisted on dialogue with the US in order to maintain peace and stability.
“The people and the Government of Pakistan reiterate their strong support for the Government and the people of Turkey in their quest for peace and prosperity,” the statement said, adding that Islamabad will continue to stand by the Turkish people “as always”.
Anti-U.S. sentiments in Pakistan is on the rise since January, after Trump suspended military aid to the country by accusing Islamabad of providing sanctuaries to Taliban factions fighting American troops in neighboring Pakistan.
“We have given a clear message to the U.S. that Pakistan would not follow its policy on the region but wants an equal say in all matters pertaining to peace,” said Fawad Chudhary, the spokesman for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which is set to form next government in the country.
Ibrahim Qazi, a Lahore-based political analyst, suggested the PTI-led government should immediately sign the Free Trade Agreement with Turkey and should express solidarity with the country.
“Pakistan should also set a stage for Turkey to benefit from Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” Qazi added.
Pakistan and Turkey have enjoyed close ties over the years. In February, during the vote on US’s motion to ‘grey list’ Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary meeting, the only country left opposing the motion was Turkey.