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Trade takes centre stage in Pakistan, Turkey dialogue

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Turkish counterpart on Friday laid emphasis on better trade ties between the two countries in a joint press conference.

“Our meeting today focused on enhancing our economic relations and ways to facilitate each other,” said the foreign minister.

He added that mutual interests and defence ties were also discussed during the discussion with Turkish Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusoglu. “We have exchanged views about how to prioritise our agreements and to fast-track the implementation of the projects.”

FM Qureshi said that Turkey has agreed to support Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir and a peaceful solution for the decades-long issue between Pakistan and India.

“I invited the Turkish FM to attend the Kashmir group on the sidelines of the UN Security Council session,” added the foreign minister.

During the joint press conference, Qureshi lauded Ankara’s support in the matter of a blasphemous caricature contest in the Netherlands.

Turkey’s Cavusoglu also reiterated Qureshi’s stance and said “trade ties are a priority”.

“We will instruct the Turkish companies to invest in Pakistan. Defense cooperation is on top of our bilateral relations and we are talking about the exchange of helicopters as well,” said the Turkish envoy.

Pakistan recently bought 30 T-129 attack helicopters from Turkey to replace its ageing fleet of US-made AH-1 Cobras. The defence deal is the largest ever signed between the two countries.

He also said that anti-Islamic propaganda in the West and Europe is increasing “but we will always thwart these negative tactics”, reiterating Turkey’s support to Pakistan on the matter.

Thanking Pakistan for its support during the failed putsch of 2016, Cavusoglu lauded Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism.

The Turkish envoy arrived in Islamabad earlier on a two-day official visit. The two delegations will also discuss regional and international developments.

Cavusoglu was received by senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Turkish envoy to Pakistan.

An earlier statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry stated that besides his Pakistani counterpart, the Turkish FM will also call on the president and prime minister.

Cavusoglu also called on Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. The discussion revolved around Pak-Turk relations, regional security including evolving situation in the Middle East, management of defence and security cooperation as well.

Turkish Foreign Minister acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan’s contributions for conflict prevention in the region and also pledged to keep working for better relations between the two brotherly countries.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived on September 5 in the first official visit by a senior Trump administration official after the formation of the new government.

On September 9, Saudi Information Minister Awwad Bin Saleh al Awwad called on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad and invited him to visit the kingdom. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi also arrived in Pakistan on September 7.

Qureshi took oath as foreign minister for the second time on August 20. Outlining the country’s new foreign policy under PM Imran, he insisted that the new external policy would revolve around the principle of ‘Pakistan first’.

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