ANKARA/ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif Tuesday while assuring his government’s all-out support, urged the business community of Pakistan and Turkey to take the bilateral trade to the $5 billion mark within next three years.

“The $1.1 billion trade is nothing… Let us resolve to take the two-way trade to $5 billion… Let us do it speedily. The time and tide wait for none,” the prime minister said addressing a dinner reception hosted by the President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Riffat Hisarciklioglu in his honour.

The prime minister, along with a high-level delegation, is on his maiden visit to Turkey, since he assumed office on April 11, this year.

A huge number of businessmen from Turkey Pakistan Business Forum, Turkish and Pakistani investors and officials from the Boards of Investment of Turkey and Pakistani attended the event.

The prime minister said the government had done away with all the impediments to the business sector and urged the Turkish investors to invest their capital in multiple sectors like agriculture, IT, dairy, textile, and many other fields.

“My investors are my masters. Come to Pakistan. We will genuinely roll out the red carpet for them,” the prime minister remarked.

The prime minister also assured the Turkish investors that they would face no hurdles in their future ventures in Pakistan, as they had been doing over the last four years.

He said under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey had achieved tremendous progress with its companies executing gigantic projects in multiple fields including dams and infrastructure building across the globe.

Speaking high of warm reception given to him and his delegation, the prime minister said the two countries enjoyed fraternal relations, dating back centuries.

He also thanked the Turkish people and the leadership for supporting Pakistan during the earthquake and floods, besides showing its unwavering support for the Kashmir cause. The prime minister also reiterated Pakistan’s stance to support Turkey on the Cyprus issue.

| Shehbaz Sharif reaches Turkey on three-day official visit | Says Pakistan and Turkey support each other on all core issues including Kashmir, Northern Cyprus

Enemies of Turks are enemies of Pakistan: PM

 

However, he said unfortunately, the historic friendship did not reflect in the bilateral trade which stood at $1.1 billion.

The prime minister also mentioned the contribution of the Turkish companies in Pakistan in the field of solid waste management and keen interest in solar energy.

Referring to the recent launch of third PN MILGEM corvette for Pakistan Navy PNS BADR, the prime minister also called for deepening the bilateral tie in the field of defence, calling the enemy of Turks an enemy of Pakistan.

He urged the businessmen from both sides, attending the event, to have “heart to heart” talks to promote bilateral trade and investment.

Responding to any difficulties faced by the Turkish businessmen with visa, the prime minister said, “I guarantee, the visa should not be an issue. You should come there and get stamped at the airport,” and assured to work out the option.

 

 

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, accompanied by a high-level government delegation, arrived in Turkey on a three-day official visit on Tuesday.

Upon his arrival, the prime minister was presented a guard of honor by a smartly turned out contingent of the Turkish Army at Ankara Esenboga International Airport. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and other high officials warmly welcomed the Prime Minister and his delegation at the airport.

During his visit, the prime minister will have a tete-a-tete with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan which would be followed by delegation-level talks.

Besides discussing the Pakistan-Turkey bilateral relations, the two leaders would also exchange views on regional and international issues. They will also address a Joint press stakeout after their meetings.

As both countries are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two leaders would jointly unveil a logo, marking the commencement of the celebrations.

The prime minister will have extensive interaction with leading Turkish businessmen and potential investors from diverse sectors.

He will also attend a Pakistan-Turkey Business Council Forum, hosted in collaboration with DEIK (Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board).

A business delegation from Pakistan comprising representatives of leading companies across various sectors would also participate in the business engagements.

 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif while addressing to the Turkish Business Forum here said that “enemies of Turks are enemies of Pakistan. According to federal information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, flags of Pakistan and Turkey were seen draped around Tobb Twin Towers in Ankara in honour of PM Shehbaz Shehbaz Sharif in Turkey.

 

Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister for Investment Board Chaudhry Salik Hussain, PM’s special assistants Tariq Fatemi and Fahad Hussain also accompanied the prime minister. While Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would also arrive in Turkey to join the delegation, PM Office Media Wing said in a press release.

It is the maiden visit of the prime minister to Turkey after assuming his office.

On his Twitter handle, the prime minister posted his views prior to his departure to Turkey.

He said that time has arrived for Pakistan and Turkey to further leverage on their excellent bonds to upgrade the bilateral ties as era of regional connectivity and shared development called for fresh approach.

“Departing for visit to Turkey. Time has come for Pakistan & Turkey to leverage their excellent bonds to upgrade bilateral ties. Era of regional connectivity, shared development & common destiny calls for a fresh approach. Look forward to discussing this with my brother (RTErdogan) Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” the prime minister said in a tweet.

‘Kashmir or Northern Cyprus’

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also said that Pakistan and Turkey support each other on all issues of core national interest – whether it is Jammu and Kashmir or Northern Cyprus.

The prime minister in an interview with Turkish news agency Anadolu thanked the leadership of Turkey for its principled support on Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

“Both Pakistan and Turkey have a similarity of views on regional and international issues and enjoy close collaboration on bilateral, regional, and multilateral forums,” Sharif said ahead of his three-day official visit to Turkey.

Terming the Pak-Turkey relations as “exemplary”, the prime minister said historical relations were grounded firmly in common religious, cultural, and linguistic links and transcend political changes on either side.

He mentioned that both countries were celebrating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. “In these seven and a half decades, the two sides have always stood by each other in the face of all changes,” he said, adding that people-to-people and cultural contacts were on an upward trajectory.

PM Sharif said Pakistan was now focusing on economic cooperation with Turkey as the current level of bilateral trade still was not a true reflection of the excellent state of the relationship.

“This is also an area where immense opportunities exist for both countries,” he said.