ISLAMABAD  - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be flying to Turkey today (Wednesday) on a three-day visit to attend 5th Session of the Pakistan-Turkey High Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC)'s meeting.

A Foreign Office statement said the prime minister would be accompanied by a high-level delegation, consisting ministers and senior officials.

He would have wide-ranging consultations with the Turkish leadership on bilateral, regional and international issues.

Together with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Sharif would co-chair the 5th HLSCC meeting, to be held in Ankara on February 23rd.

The HLSCC was established in 2009, as a framework for consultations at the highest political level between the two sides. The mechanism provides strategic focus and direction to the bilateral relationship and helps chart a vision for the future.

The six Joint Working Groups, operating under the umbrella of the HLSCC, focus on a broad range of areas, namely, trade; energy; banking and finance; communications and railways; education; and culture and tourism.

So far, four sessions of the HLSCC have been held, December 2010; May 2012; September 2013; and February 2015. The last session was held in Islamabad on February 17, 2015.

More than 50 agreements and memorandums of understanding have been concluded between the two sides within the HLSCC framework. At the conclusion of the 5th session, a joint declaration will be issued. A number of agreements/MoUs are also expected to be signed on the occasion, said the statement.

During the visit, Prime Minister Sharif would be meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Sharif will also visit the Turkish parliament to reaffirm Pakistan's unequivocal support and solidarity with the government and people of Pakistan against the failed coup attempt in Turkey on 15 July 2016. The Turkish parliament was bombed on that night.

Sharif would pay homage to all those who laid down their lives in defence of the Turkish democracy, it said. The relationship between Pakistan and Turkey is unique in inter-state relations --- marked by exceptional warmth, cordiality and mutual trust.

These fraternal ties are nurtured by common faith, shared history, and cultural and linguistic affinities. The two nations have an abiding tradition of standing by each other and mutually supporting their respective national causes --- including Kashmir and Cyprus.

Bilateral relations between Pakistan and Turkey have witnessed remarkable growth and dynamism in recent years, ranging from enhanced economic ties to deepening defence collaboration to growing educational and cultural links.

Both sides are working to give thrust to bilateral trade, investments, and commercial cooperation as part of the efforts to build a robust economic partnership. The leadership of both the countries is committed to transforming this historic relationship into a strong strategic partnership in line with the realities of the 21st century.

This year also marks the 70th year of Pakistan-Turkey diplomatic relations. The two countries envisage special commemorative events throughout the year to celebrate this milestone in a befitting manner.

The prime minister's visit to Turkey and the convening of the 5th session of the HLSCC “would further deepen the time-tested, unparalleled and historic ties between the two brotherly countries and would impart a strong impetus to their flourishing cooperation in diverse fields,” said the official statement.