ISLAMABAD    -         Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said that the problem of Kashmir can be solved only on a ‘just and equitable basis’ rather than through conflict and oppression.

“Turkey will continue to stand on the side of justice, peace and solution through dialogue concerning the Kashmir dispute,” said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, in his fourth address to a joint session of the parliament here.

In his around half-hour speech, the Turkish President talked about the Pak-Turkey joint road-map of development and prosperity, Turkey’s support for Kashmir cause and need for unity among Islamic countries to fight common challenges including poverty and Islamophobia.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chairman PPP-P Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, PML-N’s parliamentary leader Khwaja Muhammad Asif and other lawmakers from both sides of aisle repeatedly thumped desks during the speech of Turkish President.

The Turkish President said Kashmirii brothers have been living under difficult circumstances over the years. “Our brothers in Kashmir have been suffering for decades,” he said. He said that depriving the Kashmiris of their freedom and usurping their rights is not in anybody’s interests.

“Events that happened a hundred of years ago in Çanakkale in Turkey are being repeated in Indian occupied Kashmir and Turkey will continue to raise its voice against the oppression,” he said.

He lauded Pakistan’s positive contribution to Afghanistan’s peace process. “Turkey provides support, as necessary, during this process to Pakistan and Afghanistan, who are both brotherly countries for us,” he said.

About the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), he reiterated his country’s support for Pakistan in the FATF meeting. “I want to emphasise that Turkey will support Pakistan, which is subject to political pressure in the FATF meetings,” he said.

He said, “We will continue to stand by Pakistan in future, as in the past....We will support Pakistan, which is intended to be put under political pressure at the Financial Action Task Force meetings which is a current issue.”

Erdogan made this comment ahead of an FATF meeting in Paris that will decide on Pakistan’s request to be taken off its grey list of non-compliant states.

The Turkish President, rejecting the US Middle East peace plan, remarked it is not a peace plan but is aimed at occupying the Palestinian territory. He said Turkey has strongly reacted to the Middle East plan and it will stick to it.

Hailing Pakistan’s efforts in the war on terrorism, the Turkish President said the menace has greatly affected the country.

He said that they were fully cognizant of the problems of Pakistan and would extend full cooperation. He said Pakistan has much suffered from the instabilities in the region, terrorism and the conflicts.

“As a country combating against terrorism for thirty-five years and being at the target of the most violent organisations of the world from DAESH, PKK to FETO, we very well understand the challenges that Pakistan encounters. We will continue to support Pakistan in its fight against terrorism,” he said.

Erdogan expressed satisfaction that Pakistan is moving forward on the path of progress and prosperity. He was confident that Pakistan will soon realize the fruits of this development.

He said, “We will collectively move forward to enhance our economic partnership. This friendship is not based on any interest but purely love and affection.”

He said his country extended full support to Pakistan during floods and other calamities. “Pakistan also proved to be a true friend during difficult times on Turkey,” he said.

“We felt the prayers of the people of Pakistan with us after the treacherous coup attempt of July 15, when 251 people were martyred,” he said, mentioning that they had received support from Pakistan and its people to the Peace Spring Operation, which launched in the north of Syria in October.

In historical relations between Pakistan and Turkey, he said the people of Turkey can never forget the wholehearted support extended by the people of this region during the Khilafat Movement.

“Fraternal ties between Turkey and Pakistan have been granted to very few countries and nations of the world. The much-envied Turkey-Pakistan brotherhood today, is a true brotherhood, strengthened by history and reinforced by historical events,” he said, quoting that since Mahmud of Ghazni, the founder of the Ghaznavid State, Turks have become part of the wide geography.

“Baburids, originated from Chagatai Turks, has ruled a significant part of the region, including today’s Pakistan, for about three hundred and fifty years and has left deep traces in our common history,” he said, sharing the history of the region.

About common history, he said, “In the year 1915, while the Turkish soldiers defended the Dardanelles Strait with a glorious resistance, a rally took place [...] 6,000 kilometres from the front and it was recorded on the unforgettable pages of history.”

“The theme of this historical rally in Lahore Square was Çanakkale [...] On that day, Lahore Square was jam-packed with Muslims as we were struggling to survive and our brothers and sisters in this geographic [region] were also under pressure of the colonialists. “Despite challenges and threats, they raised a huge charity for Çanakkale through the exhibitions in the square.”

The Gallipoli campaign [known as the Battle of Çanakkale], was one of the bloodiest campaigns of the First World War that took place in what is modern-day Turkey. The campaign, which began after Allied Forces landed in the Turkish peninsula to oust the Ottoman Empire, resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands on both sides. 

Erdogan said that in the past Pakistan had stood by his country. “Dear brothers and sisters who else should we love and feel affection for other than you....We have never forgotten and will not forget the help, which the Pakistani people delivered, during our War of Independence by piling up their own bread.”

Earlier, in his welcome address, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser paid glowing tributes to the visionary leadership of the Turkish President.

Referring to the Indian atrocities in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, he said that the entire Pakistani nation salutes the categorical stance taken by the Turkish President on Kashmir dispute.

He expressed the confidence that the visit of Tayyip Erdogan will open new vistas of cooperation between the two countries.


New chapter opened in Pak-Turkey ties: Erdogan, Imran


Pakistan and Turkey yesterday opened a new chapter in bilateral ties as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to enhance military, trade and cultural ties.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Imran Khan here, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “Our cooperation in military and defence is part of our dynamic relationship.”

The Turkish President – who completed his two-day visit late night – said strategic economic framework was the roadmap of “what we should do in order to deepen our economic cooperation.”

“We are ready to provide allout support in transportation, energy, tourism, health care, law enforcement, and health that will help economic and social development of Pakistan,” the Turkish leader said.

The joint stakeout came after a one-on-one meeting between the two leaders, delegation levels talks and the sixth meeting the high level Strategic Cooperation Council co-chaired by Prime Minister Khan and President Erdogan.

The Pak-Turk Military Consultative Group was established in 1988 aiming to strengthen military relations between the two countries. However, as ties improved, the scope of cooperation expanded and took on a new name, the HLSCC.

Facing US sanctions on its army in the 1990s, Pakistan had sought Turkish help to upgrade and modernise its military equipment including its F-16s.

President Erdogan thanked Pakistan for warm welcome and said that he was happy to visit Pakistan after three years. “I consider Pakistan my second home,” Erdogan said and added Turkey will always standby Pakistan.

Calling PM Imran Khan ‘dear brother,’ President Erdogan said he had great pleasure to visit the brotherly country after three years and considered Pakistan as his second home.

He said holding yet another meeting of the HLSCC was the most important signal of Pak-Turkey strategic relations. The two sides deliberated in detail on all the aspects of bilateral ties in the Joint Working Committee as well as during the HLSCC meeting.

He said the signing of 11 MoUs and two documents was the most important indicator of the close relationship between the two countries.

President Erdogan said Turkey was in deep solidarity with people of Kashmir who have been suffering repression and bad consequences for a very long time.

He said Turkey was in favour of finding a peaceful solution to Kashmir issue by dialogue between Pakistan and India on the basis of UN resolutions and according to aspirations of Kashmiri people. He appreciated steps taken by Pakistan against terrorism and efforts of the country on regional stability.

Speaking on the occasion, PM Khan said Pakistan had to benefit from the experience of Turkey especially in the tourism sector through which it generates $35 billion revenue per annum.

“We also can learn from the Turkish construction for affordable housing. Turkey had achieved advancement in the construction sector and has the experience of developing slums,” he added.

He said Pakistan wanted to benefit from the way Turkey had boosted their economy, checked debts, including the International Monetary Fund loans, and did a turnaround.

He said as giving jobs to the youth was very important for Pakistan, it would also benefit from the Turkish experience of industrialization.

Prime Minister Khan said that a new chapter has been opened in Pakistan-Turkey relations. He thanked the Turkish President on his stance on occupied Kashmir and said that India had jailed Hurriyet leadership and youth.

Imran Khan said Kashmir was not Indian territory but a disputed area according to UN resolutions. “Eight million Kashmiris have been under siege for the past six months. India has deprived Kashmiris of their just rights,” he pointed out. The PM said Pakistan and Turkey had signed several MoUs which would be the start of new era.

PM Imran said: “Turkey has not only supported Pakistan on Kashmir issue but also on the issue of Finance Action Task Force,” adding: “I had asked President Erdogan, he would clean sweep if he contested elections in Pakistan (due to his popularity).”

PM Khan said that the two sides had deliberated “our relationship in detail during the council meeting. Thirteen MoUs and documents signed by both parties is an indication of how important the relations between us are.”

Ranging from tourism to security, the MoUs also include the cooperation between Pakistan state-owned Pakistan Television, Radio Pakistan and Turkey’s state broadcaster Turkish Radio and Television.



Imran Khan invites Turkish traders to invest in different sectors of Pakistan


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday pledged to take Pak-Turkey trade volume to $5 billion.

Speaking at the Pakistan-Turkey Business Forum in Islamabad here, he vowed to take Pak-Turkey bilateral trade volume to $1 billion in the first phase and eventually to $5 billion.

He said there was vast scope for increasing the current two way trade volume of $800 million. “We want to take the commercial relations between the two brotherly countries to the same level as political ties,” he added.

Erdogan said the two countries could collaborate in a number of industries for their mutual benefit. He said the trade walls should not allow between the two countries.

The Turkish president said his country was increasing investments in Pakistan. Turkey, he said, was one of the top 20 economies of the world. “We have brought down our debt from 72 per cent of GDP to 33 per cent. Turkey increased tourists from 13 million to 68 million, resulting in increased to 35 billion dollars from 8.5 billion dollars earned from this sector,” he added.

Addressing the forum, Prime Minister Imran Khan invited Turkish business community to invest in different sectors of Pakistan especially tourism, mining and agriculture.

He pointed out that Pakistan had a huge untapped potential in tourism, including in beach and historic places.

The prime minister hoped Pakistan could greatly benefit from the Turkish experience in the development of necessary infrastructure for the promotion of tourism.

Imran Khan went onto say Pakistan also desired to learn from the experiences of Turkey in the fields of agriculture and mining.

The premier assured to fully facilitate Turkish business community, including their joint ventures with Pakistani companies.

Imran Khan said: “Ours is the most business friendly government. We have gained twenty places in the world ranking in ease of doing business. We have reduced regulations to facilitate the businessmen.”

The prime minister expressed the confidence that the business communities of both the countries would come forward to benefit from the excellent political relationship that exist between the two countries.

Speaking on the occasion, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood invited the Turkish investors to initiate the joint projects in Pakistan.

He continued both the countries had immense opportunities of cooperation. He said: “Pakistan and Turkey enjoy excellent bilateral relations. Both the countries have agreed to promote the strategic relations between them.”


Turkey stands by Pakistan on Kashmir: Erdogan