Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan calls on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar in Islamabad, on Monday.—APP/AFP
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan calls on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar in Islamabad, on Monday.—APP/AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Turkiye on Monday set their sights on enhancing annual bilateral trade to $5 billion, besides intensifying their defense collaboration as the two countries prepared for their upcoming high-level bilateral summit.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar, while speaking at the Foreign Office after a meeting with visiting Turkish FM Hakan Fidan, said the two sides agreed on increasing trade to $5bn in three years.

Mr Fidan, while emphasising the need for expanding trade, noted that the annual bilateral trade volume was currently just $1bn.

During their meeting, the two sides reviewed the state of bilateral relations and discussed specific preparations for the upcoming 7th session of the Pakistan-Turkiye High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council.

Visiting Turkish FM hold talks with PM, Dar and army chief

Mr Dar, without giving the dates for the next meeting of HLSCC, which will be hosted by Pakistan, said it would be held “very soon”. HLSCC meetings are co-chaired by the chief executives of both countries.

A Foreign Office statement said an understanding had been reached with Turkiye on strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation in trade, investment, defence and security domains.

Mr Dar, in his media comments, recalled the rich history of defence collaboration and the support the two countries have extended to each other on core issues.

He appreciated Turkiye’s “firm and consistent support” for the people of held Kashmir. He also reiterated Pakistan’s support for the legitimate rights of the people of Northern Cyprus.

The two ministers, during their meeting, also delved into regional and global issues, particularly highlighting the genocide and severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza. They emphasised the necessity of an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in Gaza and the critical need for prompt humanitarian aid to the beleaguered Palestinian populace.

Furthermore, they reiterated the essential need for establishing an independent Palestinian state as a foundation for enduring peace in the Middle East.

Additionally, the two leaders addressed the rising issue of Islamophobia, underlining the urgency of tackling it comprehensively.

Turkish investment

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in his meeting with FM Fidan, reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm commitment to further expansion of cooperation between the two countries, in all areas of mutual interest, including trade, investment, technology and defence.

He emphasised the need for undertaking concerted efforts to achieve the bilateral trade target of $5bn over the next three years.

He invited Turkish companies to expand their investment portfolio in Pakistan. Turkish companies may consider relocating their industrial units to Pakistan, he added.

Mr Sharif extended invitation to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to undertake an early official visit to Pakistan for co-chairing with him the 7th meeting of HLSCC.

Meanwhile, Hakan Fidan also met Army Chief Gen Asim Munir, according to the military’s media affairs wing.

“Both sides expressed their satisfaction with the deep-rooted relations between the two countries, founded on a historic, cultural, and religious bonds,” the ISPR said, adding that Mr Fidan commended Pakistan Army’s role in maintaining peace and stability in the region.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2024

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