For over half a century Turkey and Pakistan have remained close friends. Their multidimensional relationship showed the same spirit of brotherhood as prevailed during centuries old ties between Indian Muslims and the Ottoman Empire. Ideologically, however, they were poles apart – Turkey, when it became a Republic, pursued secularism while Pakistan adhered to the (so called) Islamic ideology as the centre piece of its nationhood. But these differences of ideology, with their corresponding reflections on their respective external outlook, never hampered the course of friendly ties. In the last few years, the perceptions and interests of Turkey and Pakistan converged.

The current visit of the Turkish Premier reaffirm the strong ties as our Prime Minister and Army Chief met the Premier to discuss issues of mutual significance. Issues of security, defence and counter-terrorism cooperation remain robust between as they are on the same page. Turkish Premier Davutoglu also announced $20 million aid for the internally displaced persons (IDP) owing to the ongoing operation Zarb-e-Azb. The Turks have always regarded and appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in cooperating with Turkey. Trade, business, investment, defence production, tourism, educational and cultural cooperation are all areas where the perceptions and interests of Turkey and Pakistan converge.

AMNA MALIK,

Islamabad, February 22.