Even before the United States’ financial machinery was brought to bear on Turkey and Pakistan, both countries had shared strong strategic, cultural and diplomatic ties. In the grips of shared adversity, however, both nations were bound to seek each other for even greater support.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Turkish counterpart Melvut Cavusoglu met on Friday to lay down a strong marker on how the relationship with the new Pakistani government is to go forward. Pak-Turk cooperation in developments projects and strategic goals was always extensive, but a new tone could be gleaned from the statements of the two foreign ministers.

Perhaps the most obvious change in tone was a greater emphasis on the shared Islamic identity of both counties. Recep Erdogan’s conservative politics had already made him a proponent of religious values in a largely secular country; the conflict with the USA and the Lira crisis has only invigorated his rhetoric and hardened his resolve. On the domestic front, Imran Khan has made no secret about his conservative beliefs and politics, and his support for religious parties confirms that. It was unsurprising then, that the foreign ministers spent some time talking about “propaganda against Islam in Europe” and the “campaign against the Netherlands caricatures”.

More substantive changes were also visible. The Pakistani Foreign Minister said that Turkey has agreed to support Pakistan's bid for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue at the UN – a stance that is extremely helpful and was delivered in clear explicit terms. Regional cooperation with Iran, Afghanistan and other Central Asian States was also advocated and reaffirmed. The latter being the region’s alternative for support from the USA. Economic relations also took centre stage; according to Shah Mehmood Qureshi, “we have exchanged views about how to prioritise our agreements and to fast-track the implementation of the projects.”

With Pakistan opening up CPEC to foreign nations and ‘regional cooperation’ being the order of the day, the time is right for both countries to quickly transition into the post-USA era. Undoubtedly, a complete break from the West and its institutions would be disastrous – and both countries should continue seeking to improve relations with the block leader – but the damage caused by antagonistic relations can be mitigated with policies that advocate strong regional connectivity.

Both countries can find reliable and useful partners in each other, and the government should ensure that this strong relationship is taken from strength to strength.