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Pakistan, Turkey vow to transform ties into economic partnership after Erdogan’s visit
Pakistan, Turkey to transform ties into economic partnership after Erdogan's visit

Pakistan, Turkey vow to transform ties into economic partnership after Erdogan’s visit

Pakistan and Turkey have agreed to enhance and transform bilateral fraternal relations into strong and dynamic economic partnerships.

The understanding was reached after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two-day visit (Feb 13-14) to Islamabad.

Turkish President held separate, detailed meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Dr Arif Ali.

During his visit, the Turkish President addressed a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament and also spoke at the Turkey-Pakistan Business Forum.

Islamabad and Ankara vowed to increase the bilateral trade volume from the existing $800 million to $1 billion in the short-term and eventually to $5 billion. The two countries agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the areas of trade, energy, defense, infrastructure, transport, communication, agriculture.

Trade and Investment

Both sides vowed to increase the level of economic engagement to mobilize the untapped potential for increasing trade and investment. To encourage business, investment and economic participation, Pakistan and Turkey would conduct and finalize a future roadmap for Free Trade Agreement.

Banking & Finance

Both sides discussed the proposed credit line facility of USD 350 million for the implementation of eligible projects in Pakistan. The two also agreed to enhance cooperation in banking and finance for the promotion of trade and investment.

Energy

Pakistan and Turkey agreed to enhance cooperation in the sectors of electricity and energy as well as hydrocarbons, especially in oil and gas exploration and production projects, supply and trade of LPG and petroleum products.

Security and Defense

The two sides agreed to expand cooperation in the defense and security spheres, including sourcing their defense purchases from each other to the extent possible and prioritizing joint research, development and production ventures. They also announced to work for global disarmament, non-proliferation objectives, safeguarding and strengthening international as well as regional security. The two countries would also enhance cooperation between law enforcement and counter-terrorism institutions to counter the diverse threats, including cyber-terrorism and cyber-crime.

Transport and Communications

The two sides agreed to implement bilateral agreements in all the modes of transport including road, rail, sea and air, as a step towards promoting bilateral trade and cooperation between the two countries. Islamabad and Ankara decided to organize a pilot run of at-least 10 trucks on Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) Road Corridor by June 2020 to boost trade. They also decided to explore joint cooperation in the railway sector and cooperate in maritime exudation and training and in the field of aviation.

Culture and Tourism

During the meetings, the two countries announced to organize the 4th meeting of Turkey-Pakistan Joint Commission on Tourism and cooperate in the field of information, culture, tourism, media (film and drama) to further strengthen people to people interaction. There would be enhanced cooperation between TRT and PTVC/PBC in order to exchange programs and also in the fields of archaeology as well as conservation and restoration of historical sites.

Education

In the coming months and years, the two sides would further promote exchanges between universities, technical and vocational institutes. Turkish aid agency TIKA would establish Centre of Excellence of Hospitality and Tourism Management in Islamabad in collaboration with NAVTTC.

Political cooperation

The High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC) would continue to be the main political forum that guides bilateral relations in all fields. The current consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries would be further strengthened.

Regional and international issues

The unilateral actions by India on 5 August 2019 followed by deteriorating human rights situations have further increased regional tensions and must be urgently addressed for regional as well as global peace and security, the two agreed. They underscored the need for resolution of all outstanding disputes between Pakistan and India, including the core issue of Jammu & Kashmir through a sustained dialogue process.

Turkey appreciated Pakistan’s support to the Afghan peace process and it was emphasized that sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan can only be achieved through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.  The two countries reiterated full and resolute support for the efforts towards the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue on the basis of the political equality of the two communities on the Island to build peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey appreciates Pakistan’s strong commitment to non-proliferation and its adherence to the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s (NSG) Guidelines and recognizes that as a country with extensive experience in this area, Pakistan’s membership of the NSG will contribute to the global non-proliferation objectives.

The two countries agree to work together bilaterally as well as at the global forums to address threats posed by the adverse effects of climate change; and to address irregular migration and further develop cooperation to combat human trafficking and migrant smuggling. 

Fight against terrorism

Being victims of terrorism, both countries would continue to cooperate in the fight against the menace through collaboration in the area of law enforcement and legislation. The two sides reiterate their resolve to fight against the Fetullah Gulen Terrorist Organization (FETO). The two sides would continue to cooperate at all international forums, in particular at the United Nations in this regard.

Islamophobia

The two countries will work closely to combat Islamophobia, hate speech, efforts to link terrorism with Islam, and other manifestations of intolerance towards Muslims, including stereotyping of Muslims. Both sides also call for the establishment of an observatory under the auspices of OHCHR (or any other relevant UN body/authority) to monitor acts of hate speech, Islamophobia, incitement to hatred and violence against Muslims. The two countries call on the UN Human Rights Council to appoint a Special Rapporteur to monitor and combat Islamophobia.

Two more Joint Working Groups on defense industry and agriculture and water were established during the meetings.

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