THE 200-strong delegation of experts in the various fields of trade, industry and agricultural that President Abdullah Gul has brought to Pakistan gives an idea of the sincerity of intentions of the Turkish leadership to develop all round bilateral relations that would bind the two countries in strong, lasting bonds. He has already held meetings with President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani and PML-N leaders at Lahore. Three memorandums of understanding were signed to forge cooperation in agro-based industries and undertake joint investment and do mutual planning. For enhanced cooperation several sectors were chosen during discussions between the two delegations. Regional connectivity through rail link, agriculture, trade, infrastructure development, industry and investment, economy in general, culture and education and defence rightly figured prominently. A freight train service with Turkey has already been initiated and the $20 billion project to permit travel and carriage of goods on modern lines is being envisaged. One of Pakistans unforgivable failings has been that it has not recognised the usefulness of developing close ties with those nations which feel for us. Of course, there have been some patches of periods in our short history when one could have said, without any fear of contradiction, that Pakistan had relations with Turkey, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Libya that were marked by deep and sincere understanding and mutually beneficial interests. But our undying fascination with the West, in particular the US, clashed with ties with some of these nations some of the time. That was because we could not keep our relations with Washington in the true spirit of bilateralism, with the result that our alliance with it, invariably turned out to be a relationship of subservience. The less said about the present state of our relations with our genuine friends the better, again thanks to the dangerous pull that the superficial glare of the US exercises for our leadership, to the neglect of national interests. Yet, all is not lost, though time is running out when we can re-arrange our priorities and come back from the precipice. It needs to be stressed that serious efforts should be made to develop bilateral trade with Turkey, that has, despite declarations in the past, remained around $700 million. It could easily go up to $2 billion by 2012, and, as President Gul wished, even $5 billion. The Turkish idea of setting up a floating power house on Pakistans coastline generating 200MW of electricity must be quickly accepted; and so should be the Iranian offer to sell electricity to us.