PM Khan to embark on maiden official visit to Turkey next week

Updated Dec 30 2018

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Prime Minister Imran Khan (L) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. — PM Office/File
Prime Minister Imran Khan (L) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. — PM Office/File

Prime Minister Imran Khan will travel to Turkey on a two-day official visit next week at an invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Foreign Office announced on Sunday. It will be his first visit to the country after taking office.

A high-level delegation will accompany the premier on the January 3-4 trip, including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar and Adviser to the Prime Minister Abdul Razak Dawood.

According to the FO, Khan will hold a meeting with the Turkish president to discuss the entire spectrum of bilateral relations between the two countries. The two leaders will also exchange views on the regional and international situation.

The prime minister during his visit will also address a business forum and meet Turkish businessmen and potential investors during his stay in Ankara.

Khan's visit to Turkey will further reinforce the "historic and unparalleled ties" between the governments and the peoples of the two countries, the FO statement said.

It will "also help to explore new areas of cooperation and collaboration between the two countries, particularly in the area of economic, trade and commercial relations", it added.

The prime minister has visited several countries — including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, China and Malaysia — after his election to the top office in an effort to strengthen bilateral and economic relations and secure foreign investment for the country.

Pakistan and Turkey have enjoyed close ties over the years. In February, during the vote on US's motion to ‘grey list’ Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary meeting, the only country left opposing the motion was Turkey.

And in August, even before he had taken the oath of the prime ministerial office, Imran Khan had extended his support to Ankara, which at the time was embroiled in an intense trade dispute with the United States.

In October, President Arif Alvi and his Turkish counterpart Erdogan had agreed to further strengthen mutual cooperation between the two "brotherly countries" during the former's visit to Turkey.