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Fri 15 December 2017

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Foreign Office documents on Pakistan-Turkish relations



Visit by Pakistani PM Zafrullah Khan causes consternation because of visit to a mosque on arrival.

Discussion between Turkish Prime Minister and Mohammed Z. Khan on the possible formation of an Islamic bloc and proposed meeting of Muslim Prime ministers.

‘Turks have been paying a lot of lip service to Moslem fraternity, while avoiding taking any practical steps’ (quote from minutes section) Indeed the Turks were decidedly hostile to the suggestions of Islamic co-operation: Turkish press was unfavourable to the idea and many ‘leading Turks’ were ‘shocked at the idea, the great majority of whom regard the secularisation of the State by Ataturk as the most sacred and fundamental of his reforms.’

- Future policy = alignment with the West, as reflected by entry into N.A.T.O.

- According to the Assistant Secretary General of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Turkey will have nothing to do with outmoded alliances based on religious ties’ (from report by Sir A.K.Helm at British Embassy, Ankara, writing to Anthony Eden).

- Asst Secretary expressed Turkey’s hostility towards Zafrullah Khan and his attempt to ‘enter the Middle East as leader’.

- Turkey also critical of the divisions within the ‘ummah’, asking ‘ how any real military power can be obtained by the addition of Pakistan to the Arab World. Moreover, it is impossible to rely on Syria, Egypt and Persia, and it would be unwise to base a military alliance on such countries. The Arabs, in his view, are united only against their friends in the West...The danger which threatens Islam has nothing to do with religion, but springs from political and social conditions in the countries concerned...if the Moslem countries have not yet reached independence, it is because they are backward minded: they should take as an example Ataturk, who saved Turkey from this mentality’.

- Sarcastic observations by Helm on the religious actions of Zafrullah Khan:

-‘The ostentation with which Zafrullah Khan insisted on carrying out his religious duties seems to have caused some consternation to the Turkish officials who accompanied him. On arrival at the Istanbul airport early in the morning, Sir Zafrullah went straight to a mosque to make his morning prayer and he devoted a day of his three-day stay in Ankara to visiting Konya to pay his respect at the shrine of Mevlana’

PRO File: FO 371 101862

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