Pakistan’s collusion with Turkey to launch disinformation warfare against India is now being revealed by global think tanks and international media.
Media reports say that in an interview with a local TV station, Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu revealed that in 2018, his country assisted Pakistan to set up a “cyber unit” to launch disinformation warfare targeted against India. What was called a cyber unit was actually a cyber army. Many so-called journalists and activists from Kashmir also became part of Turkey-Pakistan’s disinformation army against India.
The Secret Deal
All this was done secretly. Media reports say that the cyber army against India was camouflaged under the bilateral agreement between Pakistan and Turkey.
Generating and disseminating disinformation against India is serious business for Pakistan.
This is the reason why the cyber army raised collectively by Turkey and Pakistan was given hefty pay cheques. With Kashmiris employed for the anti-India cyber army, Pakistan wanted to project that the so-called “resistance” against India is a home-grown phenomenon in Kashmir.
The Kashmiris engaged in Turkey-Pakistan’s cyber army generated multiple agenda-driven writeups attacking India on Kashmir. Especially after the abrogation of Article 370, the Kashmiris in Pakistan’s cyber army became more vociferous. Their constant endeavour was to paint the picture of gloom and doom in Kashmir.
Multiple Objectives For Pakistan
The deluge of disinformation against India was produced in a sleek manner so the readers and viewers would find it convincing. It was peddled out and circulated internationally to shape public opinion against India. There were – and continue to be – multiple target groups for this cyber army.
For Pakistan, the target group is India and also its own domestic population. The disinformation serves Pakistan to keep its population well-fed on anti-India rhetoric. In addition, Pakistan uses this cyber army to undermine criticism leveled against the country’s rulers.
Imran Khan was the prime minister of Pakistan at the time of this deal with Turkey. Sources reveal that Imran Khan personally approved this secret deal with Turkey to vilify India in the cyber space and on global platforms. He keenly monitored the progress of the anti-India media army.
Kashmiri Social Media Flooded With Anti-India Content
Pakistan uses the cyber army in Turkey to flood the social media in Kashmir with anti-India material.
Turkey maintains a well-fed channel of think tanks and so-called intellectuals and opinion makers in the development nations. The purpose of these think tanks and opinion makers is to keep up the heat against India on Kashmir, and keep writing negative against the Indian democracy, and keep up the anti-US criticism.
Anti-India “Research Projects”, Media Campaigns
These Western think tanks award “research projects” or media campaigns that are specifically anti-India. For these agenda-driven think tanks in developed nations, Pakistan’s teetering economy, the state support to terrorism or the danger posed by radicalization to Pakistan’ internal security and stability is never a subject of research. The systematic decimation of the minorities in Pakistan is not taken up for analysis and research.
The clear focus of the Turkey-Pakistan cyber army is to try and shape public opinion by amplifying the fault-lines of India. A major part of this project is to influence the views of the Muslims in Southeast Asia against India.
The strides of development in India, the growth of the Indian economy, the stories of Indian achievers, the strength of the startup ecosystem – these are not the stories that the media houses in Turkey want to tell.
The only stories that interest them are those that paint India in shades of grey and black. The attempt of the anti-India cyber army stationed in Turkey is to attack and demonize Indian democracy. Attacking the Indian systems of authority is labeled as “speaking truth to power”.
International Scrutiny Into Turkey-Pakistan Deal
Some of these revelations regarding the Turkey-Pakistan project to carry out influence operations against India were made by The Nordic Research Monitoring Network, a non-profit organization that aims to raise awareness of radical and violent extremist trends in Europe and beyond, with an emphasis on Turkey.
Sources reveal that part of the anti-India cyber army was also stationed in Pakistan. Ankara sent domain experts to Pakistan to train the local journalists, activists and other groups there to keep up the anti-India rant.
Influencing Muslims in South East Asia is an important project for Turkey. European Foundation For South Asian Studies (EFSAS) observed that in recent years, Turkey and Pakistan have shown a keen desire to forge close bilateral ties, each for its own reasons.
Why Saudi Arabia Was Angry With Pakistan
Wrote EFSAS: In the last few years, Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia took baby steps towards setting up an alternative organization representing Islamic countries. Iran and Qatar were also roped in. Meanwhile, India has steadily deepened its ties with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the two powerhouses of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
In the last few years, Pakistan’s ties with Saudi Arabia and UAE had significantly deteriorated. “Alarmed at the prospect of being left rudderless in the Muslim world and voiceless in the OIC, Pakistan quickly identified Turkey as the potential new benefactor in the Islamic world.”
“Under Turkey’s lead, the two countries have also made efforts to form an alternative grouping to the Saudi Arabia-led Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to represent the interests of Muslims worldwide,” observed EFSAS. The bid of Pakistan to join Turkey to form an alternative grouping of Islamic nations angered Saudi Arabia. The Saudis saw the alternative grouping as a threat to their leadership of the Islamic world rather than as a genuine Islamic forum, wrote The Royal United Services Institute, a UK-based think tank.
Turkey Wants To Build Nuclear Power
Is Turkey benevolent towards Pakistan because it wants to seek help to build nuclear power? EFSAS wrote in January 2021: “At the end of the day, it must not be lost sight of that the most valuable thing Erdogan could possibly want from Pakistan, especially given his stated intention to build nuclear weapons, is nuclear technology.”
How far these fears are true or misplaced will be seen in the coming years. EFSAS warned that global powers must assess the dangers of the grouping of Turkey and Pakistan. “It is well established that Pakistan’s promotion of terrorism in its neighbourhood and beyond and its illegal proliferation of weapons of mass destruction have inter alia contributed to the international community’s reluctance to view it as a responsible State. The lurking danger that the coming together of two such countries could potentially pose to the international order has, however, not yet begun receiving the interest that it rightfully deserves,” wrote EFSAS.
The clear focus of the Turkey-Pakistan cyber army is to try and shape public opinion by amplifying the fault-lines of India. A major part of this project is to influence the views of the Muslims in Southeast Asia against India
Is Turkey benevolent towards Pakistan because it wants to seek help to build nuclear power and is seeking help towards nuclear technology? Some global analysts have written that this is why Turkey is keen on the grouping with Pakistan