KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah addressing the inauguration ceremony of new building of the Turkish Consulate in Clifton said that Pakistan’s relationship with Turkey predated the independence of both the states.
The chief minister also hosted visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at CM House earlier, where matters of trade and investment were discussed.
Speaking at the inauguration, Mr Shah said that under the British rule, the Muslims of India regarded the Ottoman sultan as their caliph and Muslim freedom fighters led the Khilafat Movement to collect donations, assisting their Turkish brethren in their struggle for independence.
During “Turkey’s War of Independence from 1919 to 1923, the Muslims of British India extended their unflinching support to their Turkish brothers by sending financial assistance to the Ottoman Empire,” the CM said and added that during the Turkish-Russian War, a notable educationist from Sindh, Hassanally Effendi mobilised the people of Sindh to help the people of Turkey during the war.
New Turkish consulate building inaugurated
Mr Shah said that in recognition of Mr Effendi’s struggle, Turkish government awarded him with two Turkish titles — “Effendi” and “Bey”. He added that Mr Effendi was also appointed the honorary Turkish Consul in Karachi.
“Based on this history, the people of Pakistan and particularly of Sindh, share a very special bond with Turkey that has been preserved for over a century,” the CM said.
“When it comes to independence or the strengthening of democracy, the political struggles of Pakistan and Turkey have been quite similar,” Murad Shah said and added both the countries had had similar struggles for democracy and both had had female prime ministers — Ms Tansu Ciller the 22nd Prime Minister of Turkey and Benazir Bhutto.
He said as female prime ministers of Muslim countries, they shared a strong relationship. He added that in 1994, they visited Bosnia together “as brave mothers and not as politicians” to appeal to world leaders to end atrocities in Bosnia.
The CM said that Turkey and Pakistan did not just share strong diplomatic relations, but also deep economic, religious, cultural and military ties. “Turkey was among the first few countries that recognised the independent state of Pakistan and supported Pakistan’s bid to gain UN membership,” he said and added that “the Republic of Turkey has expressed its unequivocal and categorical support and solidarity with Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir.”
Murad Ali Shah said that the Turkish government had always stood by Pakistan during difficult times. “During the earthquake of 2005 in Pakistan, Turkey announced a $150 million package for the earthquake victims,” he said and added during the 2010 floods when the Pakistan Peoples Party was in power, the Turkish government provided extensive assistance, including the reconstruction of houses in flood-affected areas.
Similar aid was extended by Pakistan to Turkey during earthquakes in Turkey in 1999 and 2011, Mr Shah said.
The CM said that the Pak-Turkey Strategic Economic Framework had led to billions of dollars of trade and investment between the two countries, particularly in areas of transport, telecommunications, manufacturing and tourism.
“Both countries are founding members of the Economic Cooperation Organisation and also a part of the Developing-8 Countries,” he said and added with the Turkey-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement, we could foresee our bilateral trade achieve new heights.
According to the CM, Pak-Turk Schools have played a key role in educating countless children in Pakistan who are attending these schools. He added that each year we witnessed an increase in the number of Pakistani students pursuing higher education in Turkish universities.
“Today the inauguration of the new building of the Consulate and the visit of Turkish Foreign Minister to inaugurate this diplomatic office marks another beginning, highlighting the strength of our ties with the Republic of Turkey,” he said.
Trade and investment
Earlier, Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu along with a delegation attended a reception the chief minister hosted for him at CM House.
The provincial ministers and chief secretary also attended the reception.
The chief minister invited Turkish investors to invest in urban transport, waste management in Karachi, in renewable energy and coal mining.
The visiting Turkish minister agreed to send his investors to Sindh to explore investment opportunities, however, he agreed to work with the Sindh government in urban transport and waste management.
The chief minister presented traditional gifts damburo (a musical instrument), rilli (Sindhi bed sheet), khes, ajrak and Thari shawl.
The visiting guest told the chief minister that the president of Turkey would visit Karachi during his next visit to Pakistan.
The CM and the visiting foreign minister agreed to exchange delegation of investors so that they could explore investment opportunities in both the countries.
Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2021