ISLAMABAD - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday said terrorist organisations like Daesh and Al-Qaeda were agents of a war being waged against the world of Islam.

Addressing joint session of the Parliament here yesterday, he said the terrorists were inflicting damage only on the Muslim states and bringing a bad name to Islam. He called upon the Muslim Umma to forge unity and take practical measures to counter the threat of terrorism. He cautioned that otherwise neither Muslims nor the other nations would attain peace.

“We should eliminate these bunch(s) of killers, who have no other skill than to shed Muslims’ blood, from the Islamic world and from all over the world as soon as possible.”

This was the third time President Erdogan addressed the Pakistani parliament, where he received a warm welcome.

The PTI, the third-largest parliamentary party, boycotted the proceedings of the joint sitting, terming Nawaz Sharif a controversial prime minister.

Later after a meeting between President Edogan and Prime Minister Nawaz, a joint declaration was issued which called for enhanced cooperation on governmental, diplomatic, defence and public levels.

Deep-rooted ties

In his speech to Parliament, the Turkish leader also spoke on deep-rooted and historic relationship between people of Pakistan and Turkey and said they were real brothers.

He said referred to the sacrifices rendered by Muslims of South Asia during ‘Khilafat Movement’ when hundreds of thousands of Muslims from the Indian sub-continent took to migrating towards Turkey to help their Turkish brothers in the war against western states.

“The two countries have always shared each other’s joy and grief,” Erdogan said, adding that people of Turkey cherished their memories with the wholehearted assistance rendered by Pakistan after 1999 earthquake in Turkey. He added that the Turkish nation would remain always indebted to Pakistan.

He also recalled that Pakistan declared a day of mourning after the mining disaster in Soma in 2014 in his country and Turkey declared a day of official mourning after terrorist attack on Peshawar school.

Kashmir

Raising concerns about the situation in Kashmir, Turkish president in his speech to the parliament said that the events in (Indian-occupied) Kashmir continue to hurt their conscience. He said that the latest developments in Kashmir once again demonstrated the importance and the urgency of the solution to this problem.

“We are aware of the distress and suffering of our Kashmiri brothers and sisters. We are deeply concerned about the increase in tension (there),” Erdogan remarked.

He said the international community should exert further efforts to solve Kashmir issue, which had political and humanitarian dimensions.

Amid desk thumping, Erdogan remarked the resolution of the dispute lies in dialogue between Pakistan and India for which Turkey was ready to extend any cooperation.

He stressed the need for strong relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan saying it was vital for peace and security in the region.

Support against Gulen

The Turkish president used the opportunity to also criticise Turkish opposition figure Fethullah Gulen, who Erdogan regime believes to be behind the recent botched coup attempt in Turkey.

Gulen is a religious figure, who is living in self-exile in the US. He commands significant influence in Turkish politics through his Hizmet (service) movement.

President Erdugan said that Gulen, while sitting in Pennsylvania, was dreaming to rule the entire world.

He thanked Pakistan for extending ‘necessary cooperation’ in tackling the challenge thrown by Gülen-led organisation. “Pakistan is the first country to stand by Turkey after the 15 July coup attempt in Turkey,” he remarked. “Pakistan, with its stance against the 15 July coup attempt, perpetrated by ‘Fetullah Gülen Terrorist Organization (FETO)’, showed that it also stood by the Turkish nation in its second ‘War of Liberation’,” Erdogan said.

Bilateral cooperation

“Our target is to further expand multidimensional relationship with Pakistan in different fields including defence, culture, education and health,” Erdogan said.

He also announced that both the countries had set the target of enhancing bilateral trade to one billion dollars.

Erdogan said both the countries had signed over 50 MoUs and agreements over the last few years. “We need to focus on such projects as also create job opportunities for our peoples,” he added.

The president said both Pakistan and Turkey were blessed with immense capabilities. “We do not need to bow before others to exploit this potential.”

Erdogan, after the prorogation of joint sitting, met with parliamentary leaders and legislators sitting in the first row.

Welcome by Parliament

Earlier, welcoming the Turkish president on behalf of the whole parliament, National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq paid glowing tributes to the Turkish president.

“Credit goes to the heroic people of Turkey and courageous members of the Grand National Assembly for rising in one voice to protect and preserve their constitution and democracy,” he said about the botched coup in Turkey.

“The people of Pakistan and Turkey are intertwined in eternal bonds of shared religion, history, culture and common ancestry,” Ayaz said.

The speaker said that the peoples of two countries had courageously faced the common challenge of terrorism and rendered innumerable sacrifices for regional and global peace. “The brave armed forces of Turkey and Pakistan have inflicted a fatal blow to global terrorist networks such as Daesh and launched historic operations like Zarb-e-Azb,” he said.

The speaker said both nations had always strongly advocated the cause of marginalised and oppressed people worldwide, be it the Palestinians, the Turk Cypriots or the people of Occupied Kashmir.

Ayaz said the bold stance of Turkey on Kashmir had won millions of hearts as it helped in shaking the international conscience about inhuman situation imposed by India in occupied Kashmir.

He said Pakistan was optimistic that through unwavering support like that of Turkey, the people of Kashmir would get their right to self-determination in near future.