ISLAMABAD - The Ambassador of Turkey, Sadik Babur Girgin, hosted a grand and very well attended reception to mark the 92nd anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in the lawn of his embassy at the Diplomatic Enclave in Islamabad.

Federal Minister for Defense, Water and Power Khwaja Muhammad Asif was the chief guest while Governor Punjab Malik Muhammad Rafiq Rajwana, Governor Balochistan Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Former Governor KP Commander Khalil ur Rahman, Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, Chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Senator Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Imran Shah (MNA) and Sohail Anjum Ansari also attended the reception. National anthems of Pakistan and Turkey were played and cake was cut by the chief guests and Turkish ambassador.

Turkey, China and Saudi Arabia are three great friends of Pakistan. One can witness the bond of friendship between these great friends even at their national day receptions.

For instance people belonging to different walks of life, including government officials, military representatives, politicians circle and general public, participate in the receptions hosted by these countries.

The Turkish ambassador in Islamabad is also working to further strengthen bond of friendship between the countries. There are many unsung heroes of Pak–Turkey friendship right from the war of Turkey in 1919 in which Muslims from the subcontinent donated a lot in support of Turkish Army in the shape of ornaments, gold, and even sacrificed their lives.

British Muslims, those who were part of British Army at that time refused to fight against Turkish brothers. In the recent history Najmudin Arbakan, former prime minister of Turkey and later Qazi Hussain Ahmed, former ameer Jamaat Islami Pakistan had played a vital role in fostering the bond of friendship and brotherhood between the people of both countries.

These two leaders translated the historical friendship bond in the mind and hearts of the people of Pakistan and Turkey. The new leadership of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Abdullah Gul are the new dynamic custodians of this friendship.

Federal Minister for Defense, Water and Power Khuwaja Muhammad Asif made a speech on this occasion in which he highlighted the historical, religious and cultural heritage of both countries. The minister said that the friendship of two people is a bond that has got nothing to do with the political changes. Fortunately personal ties of the leaders of both countries are exceptionally strong.

Khwaja Asif recalled that Muslim soldiers of British colonial times declined to fight against Turkey during the World War 1 and instead opted to switch to war in Paris. It shows affection of the Muslims of the region with their Turk brothers and Turkey.

The Ambassador of Turkey, Sadik Babur Girgin read out the message of their president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the occasion in Urdu, English and Turkish language which is as under: “Today is the 92nd anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey, declared in the wake of our victorious National War of Independence, our last struggle for our independence and future. I would like to congratulate the Republic Day of all our citizens living in the 81 provinces of Turkey and all across the world.” He said: “As a nation, we share the same feelings of excitement of this 92nd anniversary of the Republic of Turkey declared on 29 October 1923.

The Republic of Turkey’s 92-year old history witnesses how our nation is capable to stand up again under the most difficult conditions. This gives us hope for our future, and we must heed its lessons in every step we take. We continue our struggle to raise our young Republic rising on the ruins of a 600-year old world state to reach “above the level of contemporary civilization,” an objective stated so eloquently by Dearly Beloved Atatürk, with the excitement, belief and enthusiasm of the first days of foundation. Today, the Republic of Turkey is a source of hope for not only its own citizens but also all the victims, the oppressed, kin and brother communities in our region and around the world. Behind the attacks to our unity, solidarity and brotherhood, lies a deep resentment from the realities reached by our Republic.

Just the way we crowned our National War of Independence initiated in 1919 under most dire conditions, with the proclamation of our new state, we will hopefully leave behind the struggles we are facing today by attaining our 2023 goals. It is our common duty to safeguard the Republic, our nation’s common edifice, and to struggle for the future of our country, the nation, making the sacrifices when needed.

Each and every one of our 78 million citizens is a child of this country and the Republic, having the same rights and sharing a common past and future, who unites at times of grief and joy.

Anyone attempting to discriminate the members of our nation by their roots, beliefs, sects, culture, position or dressing betrays the spirit and essence of the Republic. In recent years, we have acted together to craft an era in which the state and the nation stand in unity and solidarity towards grand objectives, just as was the case 92 years ago. In the upcoming period, we should together safeguard both this legacy and all other gains of our country. It is my heartfelt belief that we will commemorate the centennial of our Republic having attained our 2023 goals and reached the peak of our unity, solidarity and fraternity.

With these feelings, I once again remember with compassion and gratitude all our veterans and fallen soldiers, first and foremost the father of our Republic, Ghazi Mustafa Kemal, who have made us a homeland out of this land.”

–The writer is a freelance contributor.