Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari paid a six-day visit to Turkey last month. In an email interview, Michael B. Bishku, a professor of history at Augusta State University, discussed India-Turkey relations.
WPR: What is the recent history of India-Turkey relations?
Michael B. Bishku: Bilateral relations between Turkey and India experienced a renaissance after the 2002 Turkish parliamentary elections that brought the mildly Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) to power. This is in part due to Turkey’s “zero-problems” foreign policy -- initiated by Ahmet Davutoglu, first as Ankara’s chief foreign policy adviser and more recently as foreign minister -- which focuses on diplomacy and multilateralism, and emphasizes economic integration to promote regional and international political stability. In addition, Turkey moved away from Pakistan politically after the end of the Cold War, during which the two countries were formal allies of the United States and supported one another in their major respective foreign policy concerns, namely Cyprus and Kashmir. (Turkey and Pakistan maintain economic ties through the Economic Cooperation Organization and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, however.) Today, Turkey and India see each other as important trading partners and share an interest in cooperation on a number of issues, including security, energy and technology.