In meeting with Erdogan, PM Shehbaz offers ‘heartfelt condolences’ to quake-hit Turkiye

Published February 16, 2023
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (left) shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday. — Photo courtesy: PMO
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (left) shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday. — Photo courtesy: PMO
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif readies for his departure on Thursday.— Photo posted by @president_pmln Twitter
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif readies for his departure on Thursday.— Photo posted by @president_pmln Twitter

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday conveyed the Pakistani nation’s “heartfelt condolences” over the damage and loss of precious lives caused by the massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkiye and neighbouring Syria on Feb 6.

According to Radio Pakistan, the premier expressed the sentiments in a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

PM Shehbaz said on Twitter that he expressed “profound condolences” to Erdogan on behalf of the people and the government of Pakistan.

“I assured him of our steadfast support toTurkiye. I am confident that under [the] president’s leadership, Turkiye will emerge from this catastrophe stronger,” he said.

PM Shehbaz had arrived in the Turkish capital earlier today where he was received by senior officials of the Turkish government and Pakistan’s ambassador to Turkiye.

Later, he visited the Turkish presidency where he was received by Erdogan.

In a press release issued ealier today, the Foreign Office (FO) said the premier would meet Erdogan to “personally convey heartfelt condolences on behalf of the entire Pakistani nation over the loss of precious lives and the widespread damage caused by the earthquake”.

The FO said the prime minister would also visit earthquake-affected areas in southern Turkiye and interact with the Pakistani search and rescue teams deployed in the area as well as survivors of the earthquake.

Terming the trip a “special gesture of solidarity and support with the people of Turkiye”, the FO said the premier would “reiterate Pakistan’s firm commitment to stand by the Turkish people during these difficult times and to continue extending all possible support to the ongoing relief effort”.

Recalling aid provided by Pakistan in the form of relief items and rescue teams, the FO said the premier had assured Erdogan “of all possible assistance for the rescue and relief effort”.

“All available resources have been fully mobilized to help our Turkish brothers and sisters. The prime minister is personally overseeing the relief effort,” it added.

The FO asserted: “Pakistan and Türkiye enjoy deep fraternal ties. Our two countries have resolutely stood by each other during every trial and tribulation.”

The premier announced his visit in a tweet today as well, saying: “True to the spirit of one nation living in two states, we consider their loss as ours.”

In an apparent reference to the catastrophic floods that Pakistan experienced last year during the monsoon season, Shehbaz said, “Natural disasters, [such] as the earthquake in Turkiye & Syria, are beyond the capacity of any single government to handle.

“No country, howsoever resourceful, can deal with devastation of this magnitude. It is time the world came forward & extended support to the suffering humanity.”

Prime Minister Shehbaz’s visit had been scheduled for Feb 8 previously but was postponed on the day of departure, citing the ongoing relief efforts in Turkiye as the reason.

In a grand gesture of support, he had set up a relief fund for the quake-devastated country along with sending a 51-member rescue team a day after the quake hit Turkiye.

Following the initial support, more aid has been sent as well, including relief goods, tents and a team of doctors.

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