Newly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, gave his backing to President Erdogan while Turkey is locking horns with the US in the worst diplomatic row between the two countries in recent years.
He may have been elected just recently, but Khan – who has been a strong critic of US foreign policy throughout his political career – sent a message of support to the Turkish people and their president in a tweet today.
“On behalf of the people of Pakistan & myself, I want to let President Erdogan & the people of Turkey know we are praying for their success in dealing with the severe economic challenges confronting them, as they have always succeeded against adversities in their glorious history,” Khan wrote.
Khan’s words of support for the Turkish president may not come as a surprise. He has been a fierce critic of the US, accusing Washington of treating “Pakistan as a doormat”. He has been scathing of US drone policy, which many regards as exacerbating the problem of terrorism. He once promised to “shoot down US drones” if he was elected prime minister.
Prior to his election victory Khan ripped US President Donald Trump for attempting to “humiliate and insult” his country and insisted that Pakistan would never again be used by the United States as a “gun for hire, referring to the decades in which Pakistan worked closely with America after 9/11 even to the detriment of itself as some believe.
Last January Khan wrote: “We became a US proxy for a war against the Soviet Union when it entered Afghanistan and we allowed the CIA to create, train, and arm Jihadi groups on our soil and a decade later we tried to eliminate them as terrorists on US orders. The time has come to stand firm and give a strong response to the US.”
Asked in a recent interview if he would meet with Trump if elected, Khan said he would, but added that it would be a “bitter pill” to swallow.
It’s not inconceivable that Khan’s electoral victory has been secured in part with his populist anti-US message and his supporters will be expecting him to back his words with action.