Mustafa Yurdakul
Mustafa Yurdakul

TAXILA: Turkish Ambas­sador Mustafa Yurdakul has said that his country is looking forward to hosting the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Turkey summit for peace, stability and better relations between the neighbouring countries.

Talking to reporters here after visiting the Taxila Museum and Buddhist remains on Sunday, he said Turkey being a close friend of Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as chair of the Organis­ation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) would continue to play a constructive and peaceful role in addressing issues faced by Muslim countries.

He said cooperation between Pakistan and Turkey was being transformed into a vibrant economic partnership, adding that efforts were under way to transform the excellent brotherly ties into a strong partnership, with focus on enhanced trade and economic relationship.

Mr Yurdakul was of the view that Turkey had always played a constructive role in facilitating peace through better relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He said that during Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif’s recent visit to Turkey it was agreed that both countries would continue to work together for peace and stability in Afghanistan. He reiterated Ankara’s commitment that Afghan­istan’s neighbors and regional countries needed to work together for facilitating a politic­ally negotiated settlement under an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

Mustafa Yurdakul urges Pakistani business community to explore potential of Turkish market

Responding to a question, the ambassador rejected a perception that the Free Trade Agreement between the two countries and the grant of GSP+ status to Pakistan had hit an impasse and said that such matters were not resolved in days and Ankara was optimistic that these would be resolved amicably in near future.

About Pakistan’s exports to Turkey that plummeted from $906 million in 2011 to $282m in 2017, he said that the volume of trade was in balance, compared to the former’s exports to other countries.

But he agreed that the Pakistani business community had not fully explored the vibrant market of Turkey and there was a strong need that they explored this potential. He said the businessmen of both countries should play their role in increasing bilateral trade that was about $610m in 2016.

Mr Yurdakul said the present strong Turkish involvement in socioeconomic development of Pakistan, especially in the energy sector, was a clear manifestation of the desire of the leadership on both sides to transform this strong political and cultural relationship into a robust economic partnership.

He claimed that Turkish cooperation in Pakistan’s economic sector was emerging fast. Metro buses, solid waste management, construction of motorways, Arcelik’s $258m worth acquisition of Dawl­ance, Zorlu’s undertaking of 300MW solar power generation at the Quaid-i-Azam Solar Energy Park, and Hayat Kimya’s plan to invest $50m for setting up a baby diaper manufacturing facility were some of the examples of Turkish participation and investment in Pakistan, he added.

The Turkish envoy said that around 15,000 companies of ASKON were ready to support Pakistani companies and institutions.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2018