Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday reaffirmed their pledge to take the bilateral ties between the two countries to new heights with renewed cooperation in diverse fields.
Addressing a joint press stakeout in Ankara after holding a meeting, PM Shehbaz said that the relationship between the two countries was "embedded deep into history and shaped by shared goals". "These ties transcend time and continued from generation to generation," he added.
He said the two countries were celebrating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic ties this year.
The prime minister said he had "heart-to-heart and very productive discussions" with President Erdogan.
He added the two countries were engaged at a high level which was "instrumental" in exploring and building their shared goals.
Shehbaz said the two sides were looking towards holding the seventh High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council, a primary platform at the leadership level, in Islamabad this September.
The premier said the visit of a Turkish business delegation to Pakistan would further provide impetus to trade and investment cooperation and resolved to make the visit very solid and result oriented.
He said Turkey had made "exponential progress" in the field of hydropower generation and renewable energy and Pakistan was "keen" for its support and cooperation in terms of profitable investment by Turkish companies which would provide low-cost energy.
Citing the launch of the MILGEM-class ship PNS Badar in Karachi on May 20, jointly constructed by Pakistan and Turkey, the prime minister said it was "a shining example of the excellent cooperation" between the two countries in the defence sector.
He said Pakistan and Turkey would explore further joint ventures in the defence sector.
PM Shehbaz said both countries were "natural partners" as the two nations had stood with each other in times of need and over core interests.
He said the people of Pakistan "deeply appreciated" the Turkish leadership’s steadfast support over the Kashmir issue.
Lauding the unflinching support of Turkey, he said that Kashmiris had been struggling for their legitimate right and had been subjected to Indian atrocities for over seven decades.
The prime minister also cited the Indian government’s attempts at demographic changes in the occupied Kashmir.
He reiterated that Pakistan "would not abandon its quest for peace" but it was convinced that peace in South Asia was possible if the long-standing Kashmir issue was resolved under the UN Security Council resolutions and in line with the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
The prime minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s support to Turkey over Northern Cyprus and resolved that Pakistan stood with Turkey in its fight against terrorism. “Enemies of Turkey are the enemies of Pakistan,” he said.
PM Shehbaz said both countries had worked for decades for their shared goals of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
The prime minister said he was "overwhelmed with the love and affection" he and his delegation received from the government and from every Turkish citizen.
"The same reflection of love is also reciprocated by every Pakistani," he maintained.
Referring to close affinities between the people of the two countries, Shehbaz said Turkey was like a "second home" to him as the cordial feelings and the strong relationship between the people had been embedded deep in their common culture, history and religion.
Meanwhile, President Erdogan said the two sides discussed regional and international issues in detail during the meeting.
"We also reaffirmed to enhance the scope of bilateral ties," he said. President Erdogan resolved that the close friendship and cooperation between the two countries would be further strengthened.
The two leaders also witnessed the signing of various agreements and memorandums of understanding for enhanced cooperation in diverse areas of mutual interests.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Minister for Commerce and Investment Syed Naveed Qamar and Turkish ministers for trade and transport signed the documents on behalf of their respective governments.
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Turkish Presidency of Strategy and Budget and Pakistan’s Public-Private Partnership Authority
- Framework For Knowledge Sharing Program between the Government of Turkey and the Government of Pakistan
- Memorandum of Understanding on Highway Engineering between the Turkish Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure and Pakistan’s Ministry of Communications
- Joint Ministerial Statement on Developing Bilateral Trade and Economic Relations between Turkey and Pakistan
- Technical Cooperation Protocol between the Turkish Ministry of Treasury and Finance and Pakistan’s Ministry of Finance
- Cooperation Protocol on Debt Management between the Turkish Ministry of Treasury and Finance and Pakistan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Turkish Ministry of Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change and Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority on cooperation in the field of housing
Earlier, Erdogan received PM Shehbaz at the Presidential Complex. National anthems of both countries were played and the prime minister inspected the guard of honour along with the president.
Prior to it, the premier visited the mausoleum of Turkey's first president and founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and laid a floral wreath there.
The prime minister is currently on a three-day official visit to Turkey.
He is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising FM Bilawal, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister for Investment Board Chaudhry Salik Hussain and special assistants to the prime minister Tariq Fatemi and Fahd Husain.
'Pakistan wants to boost trade ties'
Earlier in the day, PM Shehbaz said Pakistan “genuinely and seriously” wanted to boost bilateral, trade and cultural ties with Turkey as he made the case for the Turkish business community to invest in Pakistan.
"Suffice to say, we are here to convey this message to our Turkish brothers and sisters, President Tayyip Erdogan and his team, and to the Turkish business community that we genuinely and seriously want to work with you," PM Shehbaz said while speaking at the Turkey-Pakistan Business Council.
He stated that it was important to transform the brotherly relations between the two countries by promoting trade, investment and cultural relations. He went on to say that even though the countries don't speak the same language, the nations hail from the same culture and have a shared history.
"We have been partners and have supported each other through thick and thin," he said, adding that he had received "hundreds of businessmen" between 2008 and 2018.
"Your active participation in investments in Pakistan is highly appreciated. And above all your participation in humanitarian projects in Pakistan is very well-known."
He added: "Today, we are here to seriously engage ourselves with you because you are very serious-minded business people, and your achievements are outstanding and a shining example for all of us."
He called for the two countries to collaborate and cooperate in various sectors, including the automobile industry, agriculture, textile and alternative energy.
"I am here today with my great team to convey this message to you in no uncertain terms, absolutely loud and clear, that we will welcome you with both arms to come and invest in Pakistan, promote trade," he said.
The premier said that Pakistan's populace is primarily very young, pointing toward the "mass opportunities that remained undiscovered".
"I have requested the trade minister, before we conclude this meeting, we must sign a letter of intent that through our untiring efforts we shall achieve bilateral trade of $5 billion in two years to come. [It is] difficult but not impossible," he declared.
PM, Turkish FM discuss bilateral ties
Meanwhile, a high-level Turkish delegation led by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called on PM Shehbaz earlier in the day. FM Bilawal and other members of Pakistani delegation were also present on the occasion.
Both sides discussed ways to strengthen bilateral ties between Pakistan and Turkey, Radio Pakistan reported.
The meeting also discussed the promotion of cooperation in different sectors, particularly trade, investment, education, communication and culture.