Pak-Turk military and economic cooperation among top priorities, says Turkish foreign minister

September 14, 2018

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi reaffirmed the countries’ brotherly ties during a joint press conference on Friday. The two countries have agreed to strengthen economic ties. 

Cavusoglu, who is in Pakistan on a two-day official visit, will also meet Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Dr Arif Alvi and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa during his visit.

Turkey has stood by us through thick and thin, said Qureshi. The beauty of our relationship is that it is not limited to governments, he said. The love we have for each other is also in our people, he said. Our relationship has religious, historical and cultural ties, he said.

Today, we discussed issues of common interest as well as our previous defence cooperation, said Qureshi. We also spoke about increasing our economic relations and how to promote investment opportunities in Pakistan, he said, adding that they also spoke about bringing bilateral trade on the level it should be and what the two countries can do to help each other.

The two foreign ministers also discussed the free trade agreement process between the two countries and how to improve it.

I invited him to sit in on a meeting of the Kashmir contact group today, said Qureshi, adding that Cavusoglu has said he will attend.  This meeting happens every year but this year’s is exceptionally important because of the UN report on human rights violations in Indian Administered Kashmir, he said.

He thanked the Turkish foreign minister for his country’s support of Pakistan’s NSG membership and in the FATF. They have supported us on many issues, said Qureshi.

Between us we have a well-structured instutionalised architecture for dialogue, known as the high-level strategic council, he said, adding that they discussed how to use this mechanism and how to prioritise issues.

A working group meeting will be called soon, he said, so that they can review the progress achieved so far and the issues that need to be resolved for the completion of the projects. We need to do this so that we can invite the Turkish leadership to Pakistan for the sixth round of dialogue to be hosted in Islamabad.

The foreign minister also spoke about an exchange programme for young people so that the relationship between the countries carries on to the next generation.

Qureshi said he was also able to speak to Cavusoglu about the situation in Afghanistan, Iran and Kashmir.

Cavusoglu thanked the foreign minister for inviting him and said coming to Pakistan is like coming to his second home. He congratulated Qureshi and the rest of the government for winning the election and said it was important for him to come after the formation of the new government.

He said Turkey will never forget Pakistan coming to its aid in its time of need. We will always stand by Pakistan, said the Turkish foreign minister.

Turkey wants the Kashmir issue with India to be resolved peacefully according to the what the people of Kashmir want, said Cavusoglu, adding that he believes Pakistan will be successful in this.

We are united on the Kashmir issue and will try to ensure Pakistan’s success, he said, adding that Turkey will stand by Pakistan’s people to resolve their issues. He ended his speech with “Pak-Turkey relationship zindabad”.

Answering a question, Qureshi said both countries have been through recent elections and have the mandate of the people. We have a consolidated political landscape in front of us and we need to build on that, he said. We need to expand our economic relations and discussed this today, said the foreign minister. We discussed how to encourage more investment into Pakistan and the need to promote bilateral trade and the measures needed to be undertaken to do this, said Qureshi.

“We have a host of opportunities before us to strengthen our relationship and cooperation on forums where we’ve already been working in close coordination,” he said, adding that the relationship can only be strengthened further.

We have complete trust and confidence in each other, he said, adding that the two countries have a unique relationship. The Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government wants to deepen the relationship with Turkey, he said.

Cavusoglu said it is important to fight against terrorism. Turkey has been affected by this as well, he said. We have started discussions with other countries to combat terrorism, he said. He spoke about the cruelty of terrorism in which even young children are killed.

We will continue our efforts with Iran and Russia as well as on international platforms, he said, adding that they have received tremendous support from other countries and the UN and should continue efforts to bring peace and stability to the region.

As you know, our bilateral relationship has been very strong, said Qureshi. It’s based on complete trust and built on understanding each other’s sensitivities and caring about them, he said. We have been collectively combating terrorism successfully, he said.

We have a mutual interest in regional peace and stability and Turkey has played an important role in evolving regional consensus for peace and stability.

Afghanistan, Turkey and Pakistan have a trilateral relationship we can use to promote our goals of peace, stability and economic development, explained the foreign minister. He said  regional connectivity and economic development for the region and our own countries is important.

Cavusoglu said that they want to emphasise on all areas of the relationship. We must work together to further enhance our relations in many areas, such as fighting against terrorism, he said.

The Turkish official also mentioned economic cooperation such as trade and investment but also military cooperation as a priority. He said the industries of both countries have developed tremendously and we have expertise in different areas. We have comparative advantages in certain areas that are complementary to each other, so we must support each other, he said.

He said cooperation on regional issues like Afghanistan and in the rest of the region is also a priority. We must strengthen our solidarity to face the challenges our Ummah is facing regionally and globally, said Cavusoglu.

Both sides have political will and strong determination to strengthen bilateral ties and enhance cooperation on regional issues, he said.