ANKARA: President Mamnoon Hussain here Monday hailed the “strong” bilateral relations with Turkey and said these would not be affected by any change in the political system.

In a special interview with Anadolu Agency, President Mamnoon said “the relations between Turkey and Pakistan cannot be described in words. It is a very special type of relationship between our two nations.”

The president is in Ankara to attend the inauguration ceremony of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He said the bilateral ties were based on heritage, culture, religion and “they are very strong bonds. I think that with the passing of time, these relations will grow.”

He said “I think they [the relations] don’t change with the changes in the political system and other changes anywhere on the globe. The relations between our two countries are on very strong bonds. It doesn’t matter what happens in the world and what changes there are.”

Mamnoon Hussain congratulated Erdogan over his victory in recent Presidential election, calling him “a brother”. “I hope and I pray for the prosperity and welfare of the Turkish nation and the future,” he added.

He expressed the hope that relations in politics, defence, education and trade sectors would further improve. “I hope that, in the future, we will be enhancing trade relations because this is very important.”

He said Turkey was a very important country in the region and doing very good in the economics field. Pakistan intends to have exchanges of its products with the Turkish items, he added.

Referring to Turkey’s recent move to sell corvette ships to Pakistan Navy, he said,“It is a remarkable thing that we are getting this equipment [corvette ships] from Turkey.” Pakistan and Turkey and Pakistan have been cooperating in this sector for a long time, he added.

He said the two countries would be working very closely to each other in different sectors as well.

The president praised Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA)’s operation in Pakistan. “TIKA was very active in providing help to the affected people in Pakistan [during earthquakes and floods]. TIKA has established many schools in Pakistan and one hospital has also been established by TIKA.”

He said TIKA had been doing a wonderful job to help Pakistani people wherever something was needed.

The president said Pakistan would welcome Turkey if it becomes a member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). “I think the organization will get the benefit when Turkey becomes a member of SCO. Strategically, I think Turkey will be helping the SCO in a very nice way.”