ISLAMABAD – Turkey on Tuesday said it respects Pakistan’s decision on Nato supply routes and endorses its demand for an apology from the United States over the killing of its troops at Salala Checkpost as both sides inked nine accords of cooperation and pledged to boost bilateral ties.
When asked whether he would like to play a role of a mediator between the government and opposition, Turkish premier said he wanted to see solidarity and cohesion between the government and opposition for the collective good of the people and in a light vein said he wished to have supportive opposition back at home.
He, however, avoided answer to the part of question that whether he would be playing a role of mediator between the government and Opposition.
Turkish Premier said both brotherly countries had displayed support and solidarity with each other at hard times. He said, “Our brotherly relations are unique and efforts will be made to further solidify them.” He recalled that his country extended full support to Pakistan in 2005 earthquake and 2010 floods. He said it made an investment of 135 million dollars for the construction of schools, houses and Mosques in the affected areas.
He said during his last visit to Pakistan the government had the support of the opposition and he had wished to have the same kind of opposition back at home. He said the opposition should play a constructive role keeping in view the interest of the people. We should be people centric and put people first.
He said Pakistan stopped Nato supplies following attack on Salala Checkpost, which claimed lives of Pakistani soldiers. He, however, said it was the discretion of Pakistan to decide about it but as a member of Nato he advocates for the resolution of disputes through dialogue.
Erdogan said, “Nato has decided to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014 but the date is not final and might be delayed.”
Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said Pakistan was compelled to block Nato supply routes following unprovoked attack on Salala Checkpost by Isaf and Nato forces. In his opening remarks at joint stakeout Prime Minister Gilani said the enduring friendship between Pakistan and Turkey was unique and shared by the people of the two countries. He said the High Level Cooperation Council was a special forum that brought the cabinets of the two countries together to review bilateral relations in different fields.
He said the second meeting of High Level Cooperation Council jointly chaired by him and the Turkish Prime Minister Tuesday decided to further expand cooperation in different sectors.
He expressed the confidence that the agreements will serve another milestone and give impetus to the brotherly relations.
Gilani said Turkey was all weather friend of Pakistan. He said both countries cooperated with each other at regional and international fora. Turkey always stood by Pakistan in its testing times.
Gilani said Pakistan was holding dialogue with the US in the light of the parliamentary recommendations. He said during talks all the regional and international issues including issue of Nato supply also came under discussion.
“We are part of solution and not part of problem,” he said, adding, that an independent, stable and sovereign Afghanistan was in the interest of Pakistan. “We will support any political settlement that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.” He said the world should also realise Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terrorism.
Later, the Turkish dignitary planted a sapling at the lawns of the PM’s House as gesture of brotherhood between the people of two countries. Erdogan who was scheduled for a meeting with Nawaz Sharif. To a question he said he believed that the government and opposition needed to stand united to serve the country.
“I hope to see solid relations and cooperation as it could serve the interests of Pakistan,” Erdogan said.
He said people of Pakistan would suffer if the opposition and the government would continue fighting each other and expressed the hope that they would stand united, shoulder to shoulder, to make Pakistan strong.
Gilani, in his written remarks, described the second meeting of the High-Level Cooperation Council as unique as it not only helped review the decisions, but also gave a fresh impetus to their bilateral relations.
Erdogan said the two countries had moved forward on the Preferential Trade Agreement and hope to sign it at the earliest.
“Let us continue with our bilateral investment and encourage entrepreneurship, not only to invest in each other’s country, but also to jointly invest in a third country,” Erdogan said.
He mentioned that with the inking of the latest nine agreements, the total now stood at around 100 and which was reflective of the “unique friendship and the close relationship” between the two countries.
He said the bilateral trade between the two countries, nine years back was 175 million and now it stood at US 1 billion dollars. “It is our goal to raise it to US dollars two billion at the earliest.”
He said a rule of economy stated that money like mercury would follow to the most favourable place and entrepreneurs would follow it and added that no investor would put his money to a place, where he feared, he would lose it.
He said his country took steps for favourable conditions to attract investment and said Turkey would continue to help Pakistan in all areas.
Ergogan said his country would complete the pledged housing project in Pakistan by the end of the year.
Earlier, Gilani and Erdogan co-chaired the second meeting of High-Level Cooperation Council (HLCC) and agreed to boost bilateral relations in all sectors, particularly security, energy, communication, trade and culture.
In all some nine agreements were signed between Pakistan and Turkey for cooperation in various fields particularly investments, energy and communications in a bid to further strengthen their bilateral relationship.
Both prime ministers witnessed the signing of accords at a ceremony held here at the PM’s House.
The documents included an agreement on bilateral investment, five memoranda of understanding (MoUs) mainly on energy, education and communication and two protocols on Joint Ministerial Commission and cooperation on archives.
The Joint Declaration issued at the conclusion of the HLCC meeting said Pakistan and Turkey recognised “a common vision and desire for peace and prosperity of their people and their region.”
It was agreed that cooperation between the security agencies of Pakistan and Turkey would be broadened in the fields of counter-terrorism and drug trafficking, especially in the areas of capacity building and exchange of experience.
It was also agreed that the two countries would intensify their ongoing cooperation while defence-related industries would focus on joint defence production and related research and development activities.
On energy cooperation, it was decided that power generation would be developed through strengthening of information sharing on energy projects and facilitation of private sector involvement.
A meeting will be held in Turkey before the end of 2012 to enhance cooperation in the field of renewable energy.
The two sides agreed to increase cooperation in the fields of geothermal sources, geo-information systems and remote sensing through exchange of scientific and technical information, exchange of expertise, study visits and training.
Pakistan and Turkey decided to devise a plan of action in energy sector agreed during the meeting of their presidents on April 2, 2010. The joint working group on energy would work on the plan of action and would present its recommendations to the next HLCC.
The two sides agreed to encourage private Pakistani and Turkish companies to set up hydro-electric power stations and sub-stations on turn-key basis. In the field of education, Turkey will supply teachers, curriculum and training materials for Turkish language courses provided that the Turkish language be introduced in the curriculum in Pakistan.
The two sides decided to constitute a joint working group on technical and vocational training, introduce new exchange programmes for civil experts in the fields of energy, transport, agriculture, security services and public administration, scholarship schemes and proposals to set up Techno Parks.
Pakistan and Turkey stressed to increase existing trade volume and directed the concerned ministries to conclude technical discussion to finalise the Preferential Trade Agreement.
Pakistan said it would provide special incentive packages to Turkish businessmen and will establish Exclusive Investment Zones for the Turkish companies desirous of investing in Pakistan.
The two sides decided to hold next meeting of Turkey-Pakistan Joint Business Council in September 2012 or in March 2013 in Turkey.
In the sector of railways and communication, Pakistan and Turkey agreed for bilateral cooperation to facilitate transit trade, ship-building and repairs, vessel tracking system, road construction projects, and upgradation of railway rolling stock and locomotives.
It was decided to ensure operations of Islamabad-Tehran- Istanbul Container Trainer (ECO Train) on a regular basis with participation of private sector.
The two sides agreed to explore possibilities of running high-speed trains, repair of passenger and cargo trains, training of transport officials and exchange of technical experts.
On political cooperation, Pakistan and Turkey acknowledged the significance of HLCC as a major political forum to steer bilateral relations. It was decided that annual consultations at the level of foreign ministers would be held alternately in Ankara and Islamabad.
The first meeting will be hosted by Pakistan in Islamabad in the last quarter of 2012.
In finance and banking sector, cooperation on Islamic banking, microfinance banking, training and exchange visits was focused. The two sides agreed on insurance information centre, catastrophe insurance arbitration methods and private pension system, capital market regulations, public debt and risk management system, performance based budgeting, financial reporting and Internal Financial Control.
The meeting stressed to strengthen cooperation between Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) of Turkey and Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) of Pakistan in the field of anti-money laundering and terrorism financing by sharing information.
The two sides stressed collaboration between the Istanbul Stock Exchange Market and Karachi Stock Exchange Market to cross-border listing and portfolio investment. They called for implementation of Currency Swap Arrangement signed between the Central Bank of Turkey and the State Bank of Pakistan.
Pakistan and Turkey announced to celebrate the years 2013-2014 as cultural years with enhanced cooperation of their media, exchange of television programmes, and bilateral visits of cultural troupes and tour operators.
Pakistan said it would offer a free ethnographic corner to Turkey at Pakistani museums while Turkey expressed its intention to open a Cultural Centre in Pakistan in near future. The two sides agreed that seven Joint Working Groups of the HLCC would continue their work to develop specific programmes.
It was decided that the next meeting of the HLC will be held in Ankara in 2013 for which the dates will be finalised through diplomatic channels.