ISLAMABAD              -       Pakistan and Turkey on Friday agreed to “further intensify and expand” security and defence cooperation.

A joint statement issued here after

Turkish President Recep Tayyip

Erdogan’s two-day official visit to Pakistan and his meetings with the top leadership, said the two sides agreed to “further intensify

and expand cooperation in the defence and security spheres, including

by sourcing their defence purchases from each other to the extent possible, and prioritising joint research, development and production ventures.”It added that the two sides will “work for global disarmament, non-proliferation objectives, safeguarding

and strengthening international

as well as regional security

and promoting strategic stability, including in each other’s respective regions.” Pakistan and Turkey vowed to “enhance cooperation between the law enforcement institutions, departments and agencies of both countries through, inter alia, training

activities and sharing of best practices, information, experiences

and expertise.” They pledged to cooperate through relevant counter-terrorism

institutions to develop methods

and avenues of cooperation in keeping with the evolving nature

of the threat, including in the areas of cyber-terrorism and cyber-

crime.They reaffirmed the time-tested

and unparalleled relations between

the people and the governments

of the two countries that are embedded in a common historical, religious and cultural heritage. They recalled the historic bonds between the people of the two regions,

manifested through the legendary

support provided by the Muslims of South Asia to their Turkish brethren in early 20th century as well as the resolute support provided by Turkey to the people of Pakistan in the face of all challenges.They emphasised that the fraternal

relations between Pakistan and Turkey are a sacred trust, that must be protected, nurtured and transmitted onwards to successive generations as common heritage. They reiterated their resolve to transform this fraternal relationship

into an ever-expanding, mutually

beneficial, strategic partnership.

They underlined the importance and centrality of Turkey-Pakistan High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council mechanism in expanding

Turkey-Pakistan bilateral relations.

The two sides welcomed the finalisation

of the landmark Pakistan-

Turkey Declaration of Strategic

Economic Framework and Action Plan.They reiterated their common resolve to fight the scourge of terrorism

in all its forms and manifestations;

underscoring the need for addressing the root causes of terrorism,

including by resolving prolonged

conflicts and ending situations

of foreign occupation.They reaffirmed that terrorism cannot and should not be associated

with any religion, nationality

or civilisation; and calling for extending the scope of the UNSC 1267 sanctions regime to individuals

and entities currently outside its ambit. They expressed deep concern at the rising tide of Islamophobia, and condemned in the strongest terms the recent terrorist and racist

attacks against Muslims across the globe.They recalled all the previous Joint Declarations signed between the two sides under the framework

of Pakistan-Turkey High-Level

Strategic Cooperation Council and the decisions made therein.Having endorsed the outcomes of the meetings of the respective

Working Groups of the Pakistan-

Turkey HLSCC held on February

13, they expressed satisfaction at the progress achieved therein. They pledged that the HLSCC shall continue to be the main political

forum that guides bilateral relations in all fields with an effective

and expeditious follow-up on its decisions.“The two sides will review, update

and amend, as appropriate, the agreements, protocols and MOUs signed under the umbrella of the HLSCC, in order to streamline

their implementation,” the statement added. It said, “The ongoing consultations

between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries

shall be further intensified and their scope broadened to new areas.”On terrorism, both countries will continue to cooperate in the fight against this scourge, including through the exchange of best practices

and experiences in the area of law enforcement, legislation, capacity

building and strengthening of the respective regimes.The two sides reiterated their resolve

to fight against the Fetullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation. In this regard, Turkey noted with appreciation

the measures taken by Pakistan against FETO in line with its domestic law, through inter alia designation of FETO as a terrorist organisation, and handing over of all linked schools to the Turkish Maarif Foundation.On Islamophobia, the two countries

agreed to work closely to combat

Islamophobia, hate speech, efforts

to link terrorism with Islam, and other manifestations of intolerance

towards Muslims, including stereotyping of Muslims. On regional and international issues, the two sides rejected the unilateral actions by India on August

5, 2019, as well as the further deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in the region

as a result of these actions. Both sides noted with concern the trend towards exceptionalism and sidelining of non-proliferation objectives.Turkey appreciated Pakistan’s strong commitment to non-proliferation

and its adherence to the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s Guidelines.

It recognised that as a country

with an extensive experience in this area, Pakistan’s membership

of the NSG will contribute to the global non-proliferation objectives.

The two countries agreed to cooperate

and coordinate at regional and international forums, particularly

the United Nations, the Organisation

of Islamic Cooperation, the Economic Cooperation Organisation

and the D-8 Organisation, through, inter alia, mutual support for joint initiatives, policies and candidacies. Both the countries agreed to enhance

cooperation in human capacity

building, especially in the fields of human safety, management

of the distribution systems and senior management training modules. Both sides discussed the proposed

credit line facility of $350 million for implementation of eligible

projects in Pakistan. The two countries agreed to finalise

the ongoing negotiations on Memorandum of Understanding between Ministry of Federal education

and Professional Training and Turkish Maarif Foundation in the second quarter of 2020. They agreed to start negotiations in the second quarter of 2020 and finalise as soon as possible the Cooperation

Agreement in the field of Education between Turkey and Pakistan. The Joint Working Groups of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council shall continue their work to develop specific programmes and projects, the two countries agreed. “The Joint Working Groups, will meet before the meetings of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council at least two times in Ankara,

in Islamabad, or through video conference. The next meeting of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation