PM Shehbaz jets off to Turkey for President Erdogan's inauguration

Web Desk
June 02, 2023

Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Mehmet Paçaci bid farewell to the premier as he was departing for Ankara

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif boarding a PAF plane as he leaves for Turkey. — Twitter/PakPMO

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif departed for Turkey on Friday to attend the inauguration of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan which is scheduled to take place tomorrow (Saturday).

According to PM’s Office, Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Mehmet Paçaci bid farewell to the premier as he was leaving for his two-day trip.

“Leaving for Turkey today at the invitation of my brother, HE President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to attend his inauguration ceremony,” tweeted the premier before departing from Islamabad.

The prime minister added that he will convey the “warmest greetings” to President Erdogan on behalf of the government and people of Pakistan on election victory.

“The fraternal ties between Pakistan and Turkey are set to deepen further in line with our shared resolve and common destiny,” he said.

He went on to say that both countries “have yet to unlock the potential of our multifaceted relationship and efforts are being made in that direction”.

The upcoming 7th Meeting of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council in Islamabad will also “provide the right avenue to take the momentum” of both the countries' “strategic partnership forward”, PM Shehbaz added.

A day earlier, the Foreign Office, while announcing the PM’s visit, said that the premier will extend an invitation to President Erdogan to attend the council’s meeting in Islamabad.

President Erdogan prevails in election test

Last week, President Erdogan extended his two decades in power in elections, winning a mandate to pursue increasingly authoritarian policies which have polarised Turkey and strengthened its position as a regional military power.

His challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, called it "the most unfair election in years" but did not dispute the outcome.

Official results showed Kilicdaroglu won 47.9% of the votes to Erdogan's 52.1%, pointing to a deeply divided nation.

The election had been seen as one of the most consequential yet for Turkey, with the opposition believing it had a strong chance of unseating Erdogan and reversing his policies after his popularity was hit by a cost-of-living crisis.

Instead, victory reinforced his image of invincibility, after he had already redrawn domestic, economic, security and foreign policy in the NATO member country of 85 million people.

The prospect of five more years of his rule was a major blow to opponents who accused him of undermining democracy as he amassed ever more power — a charge he denies.

In a victory speech in Ankara, Erdogan pledged to leave all disputes behind and unite behind national values and dreams but then switched gears, lashing out at the opposition and accusing Kilicdaroglu of siding with terrorists without providing evidence.

He said releasing former pro-Kurdish party leader Selahattin Demirtas, whom he branded a "terrorist," would not be possible under his governance.

Erdogan said inflation was Turkey's most urgent issue.

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