Ms Zainab Haseeb is studying IR at Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore. She has previously participated in WWF's Eco-internship.
The 21st century has seen the eruption of numerous climate disasters. With each passing year, states are falling prey to tragedies such as forest fires, floods, earthquakes, and rising temperatures leading to disruption of socio-economic activity.
In such times, states realize that climate remains a shared property of all states, and hence the state’s interest needs to extend beyond borders to ensure their well-being. A natural disaster in one state will affect economic, political, and diplomatic allies. An example of this observation can be taken from the case of Türkiye and Pakistan, the two states that have come to each other’s aid at times of natural calamities.
The Türkiye-Pakistan relationship has been observed to be friendly and diplomatic from the beginning. Since the inception of Pakistan, both states have reciprocated high-level visits to attempt to construct friendly relations.
An integral part of the Pakistan-Türkiye relationship is economic and political interest and relief for each other during natural disasters. Due to this specific factor, both states have enjoyed deepened relations with each other and strong social ties amongst the populace. In order to institutionalize such joint efforts, both states established the High-Level Cooperation Council in 2009, now known as the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council.
The 2005 Earthquake in Pakistan
The first incident that led both parties to collaborate was the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. After the incident, Türkiye began by sending search and rescue teams to help the country by providing a workforce. Secondly, it forwarded humanitarian aid to offer support for the economic losses incurred. Around four Turkish Armed Forces’ planes left to transport 93 rescue workers, medical experts, vehicles, ambulances, and sniffer dogs. Moreover, the aircraft also carried equipment for aid, medicine, and food items for the affected.
The Prime Ministry’s Directorate General of Emergency Management emphasized how the Muslim brothers needed support. The search and rescue team consisted of four members trained to deal with such natural calamities and provided trained staff to the Pakistani authorities to help. The Turkish Red Cresent organization sent food and eatables for adults, baby food supplies, and body bags.
Not only did the Turkish government show interest in supporting Pakistan, but the non-governmental organizations of the state did too. The president of the Turkish NGO expressed his condolences on the losses of the communities of NWFP and Azad Kashmir, the quake-affected zones. Moreover, the organization managed to provide Pakistan with 4 million US dollars for the 2005 earthquake victims. The NGO also set up six educational institutes in the affected regions, a much-appreciated gesture by President Musharaff at that time.
The 2022 Floods in Pakistan
The second instance of relief that Türkiye offered to Pakistan was during the 2022 floods that led to casualties, disruption of communication, destruction of infrastructure, and much more. In this challenging time, Turkiye remained a forefront player in showing support for Pakistan.
The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency sent its first team on August 7 when the floods hit the province of Sindh and Balochistan. The next team, consisting of 20 members, came in after KPK, Punjab, and Sindh were hit. Moreover, Ankara sent over 12 military aircraft and four trains known as the Kindness Trains. These were loaded with relief supplies, including tenets for immediate residence for displaced persons, food items, medicines, boats, kitchen devices, baby food, and other goods of daily use.
The Turkish Red Crescent sent two trucks filled with relief supplies for the second time. The different heads of Turkish bureaucracy, cabinets, and relief organizations joined hands to send the first foreign delegation to Pakistan to ensure solidarity and support for the people of Pakistan. Moreover, the trained staff with the delegation offered assistance in managing relief efforts and monitoring. The Pakistan authorities recalled the many favours that Türkiye had bestowed on Pakistan during the 2010 floods.
The 2023 Earthquakes in Türkiye
To repay the years of relief and support, Pakistan came forward to assist Türkiye following the devastating 2023 earthquakes. Followed by a formal message of condolence, Prime Minister Sharif announced the dispatch of teams of doctors, paramedics, and rescue workers to Türkiye to join the nation in its rescue efforts. A plane carrying medicine, relief tools, and goods was sent to the affected region.
Pakistan also announced a 10 billion dollar relief package for the earthquake-affected region. Moreover, a call was given by the political head to the citizens to generate generous contributions apart from the aid. The Pakistan International Airways flight was sent with 20 tonnes of supplies for Turkish survivors.
Moreover, Prime Minister Sharif ensured that the authorities from Pakistan would continue to work for post-disaster rehabilitation and the reconstruction of lost property. The National Disaster Management Authority was reportedly mobilizing all the available resources, such as winterized tents, blankets, and life-saving supplies needed during the operation.
The Urban Search and Rescue teams were also sent. Pakistanis also continued to pitch in their share for offering relief to the nation. It was reported that a Pakistani national who requested to keep the contribution anonymous submitted 30 million dollars to the Turkish ambassadors in the US.
From the above analysis of the events, it can be concluded that the two countries have come to immediate support for each other. The support is not only expressed in terms of condolences but also in actual material contributions, rescue services, and valuable relief goods, ensuring the aid of those inflicted by climate tragedy.
Both states provide an excellent example of how states need to cooperate in fighting the unpredictable fate that the planet is going through at the moment and how mutual efforts are the only answer to climatic challenges.
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