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PM Imran, Turkey’s Erdogan agree to boost ties

ISLAMABAD::With the signing of 11 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and two documents, including Declaration of Strategic Economic Framework (SEF), Pakistan and Turkey on Friday agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in diverse areas such as trade, energy, infrastructure, health, culture and tourism.

“We have to benefit from the experience of Turkey especially in the tourism sector through which it generates US $ 35 billion revenue per annum and construction for affordable housing,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said while speaking at a joint press stakeout along with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan here at the PM House.

The joint stakeout followed a one-on-one meeting between the two leaders, delegation levels talks and 6th meeting the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSSC) co-chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Erdogan.

The prime minister said since Turkey had achieved advancement in the construction sector and had the experience of developing slums, Pakistan wanted to benefit not only from it in affordable housing but also from the way they boosted their economy, checked debts, including the IMF loans, and did a turnaround.

He said as giving jobs to the youth was very important for Pakistan, it would also benefit from the Turkish experience of industrialization.

President Erdogan said he had great pleasure to visit the brotherly country after three years and considered Pakistan as his second home.

He said holding yet another meeting of the HLSCC was the most important signal of Pak-Turkey strategic relations. The two sides deliberated in detail on all the aspects of bilateral ties in the Joint Working Committee as well as during the HLSCC meeting.

He said the signing of 13 MoUs and documents was the most important indicator of the close relationship between the two countries.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recalled the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Turkey and said the two sides had agreed to take the bilateral trade to the level of US $ 5 billion by 2023.

The Strategic Economic Frame and the Action Plan provided a road-map to what the two countries should do for economic partnership, he added.

President Erdogan said Turkey was ready to support Pakistan in the areas of transport, energy, tourism, healthcare, education and law enforcement, which would help boost its socio-economic development.

He expressed his confidence that Prime Minister Imran Khan would not spare any effort to improve business environment in his country.

Assuring all-out support to Pakistan, he said, “Turkey stands next to Pakistan like yesterday and will do so in future as well.”

President Erdogan said the messages of solidarity and condolences sent by the Pakistani leadership as well as their support after the recent earthquake in Elazig province of eastern Turkey was an example of the connection and affection between the two brotherly nations.

He described handing of Fethullah Gulen’s schools in Pakistan over to Turkey as another symbol of solidarity.

The Turkish president termed Pak-Turkey cooperation in defence the “most dynamic” area of bilateral cooperation.

President Erdogan said Turkey was ready to contribute in good relations between the two brotherly nations of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He said Turkey was disturbed to see the situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK) deteriorating due to unilateral (Indian) actions.

Turkey was in favour of finding a peaceful solution of the issue through dialogue between Pakistan and India in line with the United Nations resolutions as well as the expectations of the people of Kashmir, he added.

He also appreciated Pakistan’s contribution and role in the fight against terrorism as well as for peace and stability in the region.

President Erdogan thanked the government and the people of Pakistan for the hospitality extended to him and his delegation, and said he wished and prayed that the MoUs signed today would bring good results.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said the people of Pakistan were very happy on the visit of President Erdogan and especially liked his address to the joint session of parliament. “If President Erdogan participates in Pakistani elections, he would clean-sweep the polls,” he remarked.

The prime minister thanked the Turkish leader for raising his voice for around eight million Kashmiri people, who had been under siege for over six months with leaders and teenagers put behind the bars in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, an area where people had to exercise their right of self-determination in accordance with the UN resolutions.

He hoped that the signing of Strategic Economic Framework as well as the MoUs by Pakistan and Turkey would herald a new era of trade and economic cooperation between the two brotherly countries.

The prime minister thanked Turkey for supporting Pakistan on the issues of Kashmir and FATF (Financial Action Task Force), and said the two brotherly nations backed each other at international fora.

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