Erdogan assures Pakistan of support on Kashmir in calls to President Alvi, PM Imran

Updated 03 Aug 2020

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Imran Khan also exchanged Eid greetings. — Turkish Presidency via AP
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Imran Khan also exchanged Eid greetings. — Turkish Presidency via AP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday assured his country's support for Pakistan's stance on the Kashmir issue in a conversation with President Arif Alvi.

The Turkish leader also called Prime Minister Imran Khan on the occasion of Eidul Azha and the two leaders shared their views on a range of issues.

"President Dr Arif Alvi and President Erdogan exchanged Eidul Azha greetings in a telephonic conversation. Important matters including Kashmir and Covid-19 were discussed," a tweet by Alvi's office said.

It quoted President Alvi as saying that occupation regimes were continuing their "extreme repression" in Palestine and Indian-occupied Kashmir even during the coronavirus pandemic.

"[The] Turkish President assured that his country would continue to support Pakistan's stance on Kashmir as both brotherly countries have similar goals," according to a second tweet.

Erdogan also invited Alvi to visit Turkey after the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While congratulating Erdogan on the reopening of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia as a mosque after nearly nine decades, President Alvi "reiterated Pakistan’s steadfast support to Turkey on its legitimate interests and assured that Pakistan will continue its policy to provide Turkey with all possible support".

Prime Minister Imran too felicitated President Erdogan on reopening of the Hagia Sophia for prayers and told him that "millions of Pakistanis watched it live on television", according to a tweet by the Prime Minister's Office.

During their conversation, Prime Minister Imran recalled Erdogan’s visit to Pakistan for the sixth session of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC) in February and reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to "further fortify bilateral cooperation" in all areas.

"Pakistan deeply appreciates Turkey’s steadfast support for the just cause of Kashmir, which President Erdogan reaffirmed during his address to the joint session of parliament in February 2020," the PM Office said.

Erdogan's contact with the Pakistani leadership comes days before the world marks one year since India revoked the semi-autonomous status of occupied Kashmir and split it into two federal territories, causing further deterioration in New Delhi's ties with Islamabad.

Earlier this week, the government called for observing the first anniversary of occupied Kashmir's annexation on August 5 as Yaum-i-Istehsal (Day of Exploitation) with full enthusiasm as it rolled out a range of activities planned for the occasion.

PM, Erdogan discuss Covid-19 fight

Prime Minister Imran during the phone call also appreciated Turkey for its role in the fight against Covid-19 and for extending support to a number of countries, including Pakistan.

The premier briefed Erdogan on his government’s strategy to contain the spread of the virus in Pakistan and the particular focus on "saving lives, securing livelihoods, and stimulating the economy", according to a PM Office tweet.

The two leaders also discussed the need for Pakistan and Turkey to jointly work for medicine development.

"The Pakistan-Turkey strategic relationship is underpinned by unique mutual trust, understanding and close cooperation," the premier's office noted.

It said that Prime Minister Imran and President Erdogan resolved to "stay in close contact on all issues of common interest".