ISLAMABAD - Turkey yesterday pressed Pakistan to act against Pak-Turk schools allegedly run by cleric Fethullah Gulen as Ankara fully backed Islamabad on the Kashmir dispute with India.

Although his Pakistan counterpart Sartaj Aziz – Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs – only promised to investigate the working of Pak-Turk schools network, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Islamabad had pledged its full support in closing down schools and businesses across Pakistan linked to ‘Fethullah terrorist organisation.’

Addressing a joint news conference with Aziz, the visiting minister said: “The Fethullah terrorist organisation is running a network of schools, colleges and businesses in Pakistan and other parts of the world. This group and its leader (Fethullah Gulen) who is based in US now, were the masterminds of the (recent) failed military coup.”

“Pakistan has assured us of its full cooperation in dealing with this very serious issue. We are sure that all possible actions will be taken in this regard. Initially, we had supported this network but we didn’t know that it had a hidden agenda,” He added.

He said every legal and constitutional step was being taken to bring those behind the attempted July 15 coup to justice.

Cavusoglu also defended Turkey's decision to declare a state of emergency, saying it was not targeting ordinary citizens.

Rebuffing criticism from Europe, he noted France imposed an ongoing state of emergency after the attacks in Paris earlier this year, something Turkey had not done in similar circumstances.

Cavusoglu also described Pakistan as a second home for Turks and thanked Pakistan for its support in the aftermath of the failed coup, which included passing resolutions in favour of democracy in parliament.

Cavusoglu said Turkey in collaboration with Pakistan government was working over a solution to protect the students of Pak-Turk schools in Pakistan and no adverse decision would be taken to affect their academic career.

“Had both Turkey and Pakistan not been sensitive to students and their families, these schools would have been closed since December 2013,” he said.

He also called for cooperation between Islamabad and Kabul, to help bring peace to neighbouring Afghanistan.

Cavusoglu said the disputed status of Kashmir, held in parts by Pakistan and India, could only be resolved by negotiations between the two countries, rather than violence.

He said Turkey hoped the Kashmir issue would be resolved through dialogue while backing Islamabad’s stance to send an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation team to the held valley to probe the human rights violations.

“Turkey fully supports Pakistan’s position on Jammu and Kashmir,” Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said. “I would like to ask the Secretary General of the OIC to mobilise the Contact Group and send an observer mission. We believe this issue (Kashmir) can be solved through dialogue,” he added.

Cavusoglu said Pakistan and Turkey would sign a free trade agreement by the end of the year which would boost business activity between the two countries.

Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan fully supported a democratic Turkey under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and praised the Turkish people for foiling the attempted coup.

He promised Pakistan would investigate a network of schools Ankara wants shut for alleged links to the US-based Muslim cleric it blames for last month's coup attempt.

However, Aziz stopped short of agreeing to close Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges, which educates 10,000 students and denies any affiliation with the cleric.

Cavusoglu said Gulen’s ‘terrorist group’ should be stamped out. “It is not secret that this organisation has institutions or their presence in Pakistan and in many other countries,” he added.

He said Turkey was confident Pakistan will take necessary measures to shut the Gulen network in the country.

Adviser Aziz said, “We are going to protect the schools and students of Pak-Turk Schools as these institutions are being professionally managed and providing good education.”

He said efforts were afoot to find out the arrangement for Pak-Turk Schools to continue their working in Pakistan.

Earlier, the two sides agreed to transform their warm relationship into a durable strategic and economic partnership. The understanding came during talks between Aziz and Cavusoglu here.

A foreign office statement, meanwhile, said Cavusoglu, visited Pakistan from August 1-2. “During his stay in Islamabad, he called on the president and the prime minister and held delegation-level talks with Mr. Sartaj Aziz. He also met minister for Safron,” it added.

“During Cavusoglu's meeting with the prime minister, both leaders expressed satisfaction at the continued expansion and deepening of bilateral relations. The prime minister emphasised the importance that Pakistan attaches to its relations with Turkey and underlined the need to hold regular high-level exchanges,” it said.

The president, in his meeting with the Turkish foreign minister, stressed on the importance of fostering unity among the Muslim Ummah (nation) to tackle modern day challenges faced by it and noted that both Pakistan and Turkey had an important role to play in that regard. Both the president and the prime minister reiterated their strong condemnation of the attempted coup in Turkey and lauded the successful defence of democracy, the statement added.

The entire spectrum of Pakistan-Turkey bilateral relations as well as global and regional issues of mutual concern, with special emphasis on Afghanistan, came under discussion during the bilateral meeting between Aziz and the visiting minister, it said.

Both leaders agreed to intensify efforts in fight against terrorism.

The two leaders agreed on the need for sustained engagement for enhanced cooperation in diverse spheres.

The importance of early conclusion of bilateral Free Trade Agreement was also highlighted as it would significantly contribute towards the overall vision of the leadership of the two countries to transform the traditionally cordial bilateral relations into a robust economic partnership.

The adviser also briefed Cavusoglu on the latest situation in Afghanistan He also underscored the imperatives of reaching a sustainable and lasting peace in Afghanistan through reconciliation and dialogue.