ANKARA: Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif met with the highest leadership in Turkey as he visited Istanbul from 25-27 August for reaffirming Pakistan’s strong support and solidarity in the aftermath of the coup attempt of July 15. 

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif called on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Tarabya Kosku on 27 August, where he conveyed the cordial greetings of the President, Prime Minister, and people of Pakistan.

He paid rich tributes to the dynamic and visionary leadership of President Erdogan, which proved to be the decisive factor in preserving the will of the people and safeguarding democracy.

The Chief Minister praised the people of Turkey for the courage, commitment and immense sacrifices with which they defeated the coup attempt on the streets and squares of Turkey.

The Chief Minister and his delegation separately met with Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

While reaffirming solidarity after the coup attempt, and offering the deepest sympathies and condolences of the leadership and people of Pakistan over the loss of innocent lives in recent terrorist attacks in Turkey, the Chief Minister underscored the desire to further deepen bilateral cooperation in diverse fields.

Measures to promote Pakistan-Turkey fraternal ties, especially in the trade, commercial and investment fields were discussed. Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Ismail Kahraman, received the Pakistan delegation at Dolmabahçe Palace and hosted a working luncheon in their honour.

During the meeting, Speaker Kahraman reiterated Turkey’s gratitude for Pakistan’s strong support, including the unanimous resolutions passed by the National Assembly and Senate of Pakistan.

He also expressed thanks for the recent visit of Pakistan Parliamentary delegation, which came to reinforce the same message. During their stay, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and the delegation attended the opening ceremony of the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge on 26th August.

The Chief Minister closely interacted with the Turkish leadership and foreign dignitaries attending the ceremony. While characterizing the Bridge as an “engineering marvel,” he congratulated the Turkish government and people over this highly impressive achievement.