Pakistani Air Vice Marshal Ghulam Abbas Ghumman recounts a story on how his country immediately provided fighter pilots to Turkey following the 2016 coup d'état attempt.
Turkey has always officially denied that Pakistani pilots manned their fighter jets after their Turkish counterparts were purged following the failed coup d'état attempt, which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blames on being orchestrated from the Turkish Air Force.
Greek pilots for their part have reported in previous years seeing Pakistani pilots manning Turkish fighter jets that were violating Greece's airspace.
Full statement by the Air Vice Marshal:
"I want to talk about an incident. During the coup attempt in 2016 (July 15th). I was then an attaché in Turkey. The people of Pakistan were equally saddened by all that had happened as much as you were.
"After that, one day I got a phone call. And they told me they needed fighter pilots in the Turkish Air Force. You had problems on the Syrian border. I called his Office (Turkish officer's) at 1 or 2am and said, 'Give me some time'."
"Then I called my superiors. I said, 'The Turkish Air Force needs Pakistani pilots, we have to support them'. 'When,' my official asked, 'our pilots are ready'. 'Then go and tell them that our pilots are ready, Turkey can tell us when they should fly he said,' he said.
"Two hours later, I think at 4:00, I called again and said, 'Sir, our pilots are ready.' 'When would you like them to come here?'
"And the Minister of Defence took me to the President. Two hours later I said the Pakistnai pilots were ready to fly. When he heard this, President Erdogan said, 'Pakistan is our No. 1 friend and brother. It's a friendship that has been tested and proven in all difficult times.'
"I asked, 'Sir, who is your number 2 friend?' And the president said, 'Also Pakistan!'
"Such is the relationship between Turkey and Pakistan. We are proud of that. In our relationship, even in the most difficult times, we have always stood by our Turkish friends and brothers.
"We were with our Turkish friends during the Cyprus period. They have been with us in Kashmir in our difficult times, in all kinds of crises.
"Our relationships have always been like this. Hopefully now this relationship is our responsibility. This is a responsibility that our ancestors gave us. It's a relationship we value very much."
Here’s the story by the Pakistani Air Vice Marshal Ghulam Abbas Ghumman pic.twitter.com/BsJ9jouTLQ
— Global Defense Insight (@Defense_Talks) December 8, 2022