Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated on Wednesday that the relations with Turkey are “exceptional” and highlighted the importance of developing it into a good economic partnership.

Visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu held a meeting with Khan in the capital Islamabad and discussed bilateral relations and regional and international issues, said an official statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Reaffirming the exceptional nature of Pakistan-Turkey political relationship, the prime minister stressed the importance of transforming it into a robust economic partnership.”

The two leaders expressed their commitment and affirmed their resolve to further strengthen trade, investment, defense, educational and cultural cooperation, said the official release.

The prime minister thanked Turkey for its steadfast support on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and highlighted the detrimental Indian actions posing a threat to peace and security.

In the regional context, Khan underscored the importance Pakistan attached to a peaceful solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. In this regard, he highlighted Pakistan’s positive contribution to the Afghan peace process and the imperative for all Afghan stakeholders to work for bringing down violence, leading to a cease-fire and securing an inclusive and broad-based political settlement.

Turkish top diplomat meets Pakistani president

Earlier, during a meeting with Cavusoglu, Pakistani President Arif Alvi called for further enhancing trade and cultural relations with Turkey.

“Pakistan and Turkey enjoy excellent relations and both countries need to further enhance economic and cultural relations for the mutual benefit of the two countries,” Alvi said during his meeting with Cavusoglu, according to a statement from the presidential office.

Alvi said Pakistan’s ranking of “Ease of Doing Business” tremendously improved and Turkish investors needed to capitalize on investment opportunities in Pakistan.

The Turkish foreign minister said that Turkey is also keen to improve trade relations with Pakistan.

Cavusoglu is leading a high-level delegation to Pakistan on a three-day visit to review bilateral, regional, and international relations. Besides, the two sides will also prepare for the 7th High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council — the highest-level decision-making forum between the two countries since 2009, which will be held in Ankara, Turkey’s capital.

Investments by Turkish companies in Pakistan have grown by over $1 billion, the statement informed.

“The two sides agreed to further solidify and expand bilateral cooperation in the fields of trade and culture.”

On the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistani president said the Turkish leadership has taken a “principled stance on Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.”

Alvi asked the Turkish foreign minister “to convey his gratitude to [Turkish] President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for raising the voice of Kashmiris during his recent speech at UN General Assembly.”

He also appreciated Turkey’s leading role in the global effort against the COVID-19 pandemic by providing assistance and support to Pakistan and other countries.

Turkey has extended medical assistance to over 150 countries during the pandemic to fight the deadly coronavirus.

Cavusoglu assured that Turkey will continue to support Pakistan at international fora, said the statement.

During the meeting, the Turkish top diplomat appreciated Pakistan’s support for Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh.

“Both sides underlined the need to work closely on joint initiatives to combat Islamophobia, hate speech, and other manifestations of intolerance towards Islam,” the statement added.

Earlier today, President Alvi conferred the award of Hilal-e-Pakistan, Pakistan’s second-highest civilian award, on Cavusoglu in recognition of his services for the promotion of international peace and security as well as Pak-Turkey relations.​​​​​​​

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