PM Nawaz, Turkish President Erdogan focus on Kashmir

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ISLAMABAD: (Parliament Times) Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a joint press conference after a meeting earlier today (Thursday).

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, welcoming the visiting dignitary, said Pakistan is President Erdogan’s second home and the relations between the two countries are based on mutual trust and respect.

Condemning the coup attempt in Turkey which took place earlier this year, the Prime Minister said Pakistan was shocked by the attempt and the Pakistani nation stands with the elected government of Turkey.

“The Turkish public defeated the coup attempt with courage and bravery,” the Prime Minister said, adding that the people of Turkey made history by upholding democracy, which is laudable.

The Prime Minister appreciated Turkey’s efforts in trying to resolve the Kashmir dispute.

The Prime Minister also said he appreciates Turkey for supporting Pakistan’s inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

He further said that trade and investments between the two countries should increase.

“We have decided to hold talks in order to finalise a free trade agreement till 2017,” the Prime Minister said. He added that he and President Erdogan had discussed a wide range of bilateral matters during the meeting.

“Turkey stands in solidarity with Kashmir”: President Erdogan 

President Erdogan, addressing the press conference, urged for an immediate resolution of the Kashmir dispute and said the escalating tensions on the Pakistan-India border and the atrocities in Kashmir cannot be ignored.

“Pakistan and India should seek a resolution of the Kashmir issue through dialogue,” the President said. He added that the Kashmir dispute should be resolved in accordance with UN resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

“The Turkish government and the Turkish nation stand in solidarity with the Kashmiri people,” he said.

President Erdogan said that he had discussed mutual matters relating to war against terrorism with PM Nawaz Sharif in the meeting earlier.

“We will not leave Pakistan alone in the war against terrorism,” the President said.

President Erdogan said the sentiments of the Pakistani public following the coup attempt on July 15 this year served as evidence that Pakistan is a close friend of Turkey.

“Turkey will never forget Pakistan’s honest sentiments and support,” the President added.

President Erdogan said the Gulen movement had tried to weaken Turkey by using the public services sector to further its cause.

“Turkey is combating this organisation,” the President said, adding that the country was taking action against “this group of murderers and evil-mongers.”

The Turkish President stressed that this anti-Turkey group must not be given asylum in Pakistan. On the issue of closure of Pak-Turk schools, he said that the future of the students enrolled in these schools will not be in danger.

The President further said Turkey will play its role in strengthening relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Later, President Erdogan who is on an official two-day visit to Pakistan addressed the joint session of the parliament.

With the exception of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), all other parliamentary parties attended the joint session.

Pakistan-Turkey agree to further strengthen ties

Pakistan and Turkey have agreed to further strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.

During delegation-level talks led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the two countries discussed issues of mutual interest along with regional and international issues.

Earlier today President Erdogan was welcomed at Prime Minister House where he received a guard of honour. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hosted an official welcome ceremony for the visiting dignitary. The two leaders met one-on-one to discuss matters of bilateral interest and international affairs.

After the parliament address President Erdogan will leave for Lahore, where he will attend an honorary banquet hosted by the Prime Minister at Shahi Fort. Erdogan will then leave for Turkey later tonight.

President Erdogan arrived in Pakistan on Wednesday on the invitation of President Mamnoon Hussain. He and the first lady were welcomed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Kalsoom Nawaz and Maryam Nawaz upon arrival at the Nur Khan Airbase. Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, federal ministers, diplomats and other high-ranking officials were also present to welcome President Erdogan.

After his arrival, Turkish President held a meeting with President Mamnoon Hussain in Islamabad on Wednesday evening where both leaders discussed bilateral relations and cooperation in diverse fields.