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September 15, 2018

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Turkey backs Pak quest for Kashmir issue solution

ISLAMABAD: Turkey on Friday held out a strong assurance to Pakistan that it fully backed its quest to find a peaceful solution to the Kashmir issue in the United Nations.

A separate conference on Kashmir will be held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in the background of a new UN report, which sheds light on the Indian-Held Kashmir (IHK). Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was speaking at the Foreign Office after delegation level talks with his counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Cavusoglu said it's Turkey's wish that the Kashmir issue involving India and Pakistan got resolved in a peaceful manner at the UN. "In the group that has been formed over Kashmir in the UN, we will stand with Pakistan and try to make [its efforts] successful,” he said.

"There has certainly been a surge in the interest of people in the human rights abuses that are taking place there. I invited FM Cavusoglu to that conference, and I am thankful to him that he accepted the invitation,” commented Qureshi. Qureshi thanked the Turkish FM for supporting Pakistan’s membership in Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and on the Netherlands caricature issue as well.

Pakistan’s desire to enhance economic and commercial ties with Turkey were also discussed in the meeting with Cavusoglu. Cavusoglu, who arrived in Islamabad on Thursday night accompanied by a high-level delegation, reiterated that there was “heart to heart” and “Two Countries, One Nation” relations between the two countries and Pakistan always had a special significance in the Turkish foreign policy.

Qureshi has now started a new tradition of inviting only the state media to joint press conferences with foreign dignitaries, a hint of the PTI manifesto which talked of ‘restructuring ‘of the Foreign Ministry and putting an end to reporting by the independent media.

“The strength of Pakistan-Turkey relationship is not relative to time, situations or individual choices. It is a relationship anchored in affection and solidarity among the people of the two nations”, said Qureshi, pointing to the inseparable bonds of common faith, history, culture which have been reinforced by mutual trust and a sense of inter-dependence on critical issues.

Both foreign ministers held a one-on-one meeting followed by delegation level talks in which senior officials from both sides were present. Qureshi noted that a regular exchange of high-level visits, and presence of a number of institutional frameworks under the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC), was indicative of the close bilateral ties maintained at various levels. Pakistan and Turkey support each other on all issues of core concern to both sides.

"In our meeting today we focused on enhancing our economic relations. We discussed ways to facilitate each other. Our relationship has been very strong. There is a mutual interest. We understand each other's sensitivities. Turkey has played a role in improving regional consensus and stability”, added Qureshi.

Qureshi further said the situation of Afghanistan, Iran and Kashmir were also discussed during the meeting. "Governments and people come and go, but real friendships cannot end," Cavusoglu said. "This friendship should remain forever.

Pak-Turkey sixth conference of its Strategic Council will take place in Pakistan for which dates are being awaited. "We have strengthened our commercial ties, so that our companies that want to work in Pakistan. We have a unique relation, therefore, we should work together to further enhance our relations. The security issue for both the countries is important and so is the economic and military

Qureshi reaffirmed that the PTI government’s priorities were focused on socio-economic uplift of the people of Pakistan and furthering regional peace and stability in the region. He said Turkey was one of the frontline partners in this pursuit.

“Our people take pride in their faith and are determined to make collective efforts in confronting islamophobia and other attempts to malign or distort the great message of peace and respect for humanity imbibed in the Holy Quran and repeatedly demonstrated in the life of our Holy Prophet (PBUH),” added Qureshi.

FM Cavusoglu said "there is a propaganda against Islam in Europe. We ran a campaign against the Netherlands caricatures, and thank God they shut it down." The Turkish minister said Pakistan and Turkey had suffered the most hardships in the war against terrorism.

Cavusoglu said: "Turkey will never forget Pakistan and its people's help" in the failed 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt. "The Gulen movement not only damaged Turkey but it caused destruction wherever it went," he said. "Pakistan helped us in that and we would for it to keep doing so."

The Turkish foreign minister also met with Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The two leaders reiterated their commitment to continue working closely at various multilateral and international forums including United Nations and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan and Turkey were bonded by common faith, mutual interest, and a shared future for the people of the two countries. “Both countries have always stood beside each other and would continue to do so. Pakistan and Turkey have the required potential to forge an even stronger partnership in future.”

Foreign Minister Cavusoglu reiterated Turkey’s full support to Pakistan Government’s future plans to take the country on a rapid course of economic progress, developments and creating greater opportunities for the people of Pakistan, especially its vibrant youth.

Ideas covering promotion of bilateral trade and Turkish investment in various sectors including energy sector of Pakistan were also discussed. Both sides reiterated their commitment to continue working closely in various multilateral and international foras including UN and OIC.

FM Cavusoglu also called on Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters. Cavusoglu "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".

"The focus of the discussion remained on Pak-Turkey relations and regional security, including the evolving situation in the Middle East, management of defence and security cooperation between both the countries," according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

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