ISLAMABAD: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reaching Pakistan on Thursday (today) on a two-day trip aimed at strengthening bilateral strategic partnership and economic ties.
The Foreign Office said the Turkish president would visit Pakistan from Feb 13 to 14 for underscoring “traditional solidarity and affinity” between the two countries and further “deepening and broadening of the flourishing Pakistan-Turkey strategic partnership”.
Mr Erdogan, who will be accompanied on the trip by his cabinet members, senior government officials, leading Turkish business figures, would co-chair with Prime Minister Imran Khan the 6th session of the Pakistan-Turkey High Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC), address a joint session of parliament on Friday for the record fourth time and speak at the Pakistan-Turkey Business and Investment Forum.
Turkey and Pakistan are expected to sign a number of important agreements/memorandums of understanding to formalise some of the understandings that would be reached during the HLSCC meeting.
Trip aims to strengthen strategic, economic relations
The HLSCC is the highest-level decision-making forum that provides strategic direction to the ties. There are seven joint working groups under the HLSCC working on political coordination, trade and investment, energy, banking and finance, transport and communications, culture and tourism and education.
HLSCC meetings are held alternatively in Islamabad and Ankara.
Mr Erdogan will also meet with PM Khan and President Arif Alvi.
PM Khan is expected to invite Turkey to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He had in an interview with a Turkish newswire said: “We hope to involve them in using CPEC for further connectivity, and we hope to involve Turkey in this [CPEC]”.
Mr Khan wants Turkish businesses to invest in Pakistan’s mining sector and engage in technology transfer projects.
About the proposals for promoting economic ties, the FO said: “Both sides place a strong emphasis on forging a robust economic relationship”.
There are also plans for “vibrant cooperation” in tackling Islamophobia, promoting Islamic solidarity and advancing shared goals of regional peace, security and stability.
“Pakistan and Turkey have a unique and abiding relationship characterised by mutual support and exceptional mutual trust and understanding. The two brotherly countries have always been each other’s steadfast partners. Turkey supports the cause of self-determination for the people of Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir. Pakistan stands by Turkey on the question of Cyprus,” the FO said.
Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2020