Pakistan-Turkey bilateral relations have become a role model for relations with other states. The cooperation between these two Muslim states has started showing results. At the international level, Islamabad and Ankara have been speaking with one voice on issues of mutual interests. Founder of modern Turkey, Kamal Ataturk is respected as a national hero in Pakistan at the grassroot level. Similarly, the present leadership of Turkey, including President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, enjoy tremendous respect and love from the people of Pakistan. The initiative that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has taken to involve Turkey in development projects has been positively responded to. In an attempt to further increase this cooperation, CM Punjab is at present on a visit to Turkey, where he has been given a warm and cordial welcome. So far he has met President Abdullah Gul and Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbas besides holding talks with a consortium of Turkish companies. In his meeting the President, Mian Shahbaz Sharif apprised him of the cooperation taking place between Punjab and Turkey in executing various development projects. Reciprocating the sentiments, President Gul expressed his pleasure by saying that Pak-Turk relations had turned into pragmatic economic cooperation and Turkey would be delighted to exchange its experiences with Pakistan at all levels. Turkey is a leading country in the construction, education and waste management sectors where Pakistan could benefit from its experience. Another aspect of this cooperation is that it is without strings. Not only are Turkish companies offering technological cooperation, their banks are also willing to offer loan facilities for the completion of projects. This is rare and China is the only other country which has so far acted on its promise to transfer technology to Pakistan.

Pakistan must explore more and more opportunities to involve companies from Turkey in other developmental projects in its social sectors. Turkish cooperation in building homes for those devastated by the flood in 2010 and last year is enviable. The proposed currency swap with Ankara would turn another leaf in the existing bilateral ties among the two Muslim countries particularly in the field of two-way trade and would be a very welcome step indeed.