LAHORE – Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said Turkey had achieved unprecedented development and progress over the past decades whereof it had emerged as the 16th largest economic power in the world.

Addressing a reception given in his honour by the Turkish Company Albayrak, in Istanbul on Thursday, the chief minister said Pakistan had to learn a great deal from Turkey in the crucial fields of economics and technology.

He said brotherly ties between Pakistan and Turkey could be made even more economically fruitful by taking serious steps at the government level.

“Turkish companies Albayrak and Ozbak are making investment of $600 million in Punjab and tireless efforts of these companies are giving a new look to the provincial metropolis. The agreement with Albayrak will prove to be a milestone in the existing friendly relations between Pakistan and Turkey,” Shahbaz added.

According to the report received here, the chief minister in his address said Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) was a great project in the history of Pakistan’s transport, which was being completed with the cooperation of Turkey. He said with the completion of this project, the general public would be made available international quality, affordable and comfortable travelling facilities.

“The interaction between Punjab government and Turkey is not limited to BRTS only, as the provincial government is also benefitting from the expertise of Turkey in other sectors,” the chief minister added.

Shahbaz expressed his satisfaction over the fact that the Turkish government and companies were taking keen interest in the development and prosperity of the people of Pakistan and it was in the interest of Pakistan to increase its volume of trade with Turkey.

Shahbaz said there had been a manifold increase in cooperation and collaboration between Turkey and the Punjab government during the past four years for which he was grateful to the Turkey President Abdullah Gul and Turkish Prime Minister Rajab Tayyip Erdogan.

The chief minister said Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas considered provincial metropolis of Punjab as his own city and had extended vigorous cooperation to transform Lahore into a metropolitan city of international standard.

Shahbaz said the words of the Turkish President, Prime Minister and Istanbul Mayor regarding cooperation with Punjab had become a reality and the trade and economic agreements were a living example of this fact.

The chief minister hoped that bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries would be further strengthened, as a result of his visit to Turkey.

Shahbaz visited Turkish province Van and laid foundation stone of a hostel for 256 earthquake affectees to be constructed at a cost of one million dollars.

Member Parliament Burhan Kayaturk and President of an International NGO Kimse Yukmo, Unaal accompanied him. When the chief minister reached Van city, the Governor of the province Münir Karaoğlu and a large number of the people warmly welcomed him.

The chief minister also met the Governor of Van province, Münir Karaoğlu at his office. Matters relating to promotion of investments in various sectors between Punjab and Turkey were discussed during the meeting. He also addressed a big public meeting at Van city.