Pak-Turkey Strategic Ties to touch new high

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ANKARA, May 15 (APP): Pakistan's ambassador to Ankara Sohail 

Mahmood said on Sunday Pakistan and Turkey were learning from each

other's experiences and had mounted determined efforts to eliminate

the scourge of terrorism from their soil.

Both the countries suffer at the hands of terrorists but

share information as their security and defence forces were in a

regular dialogue on the issue to further cement their cooperation

on combating terrorism, he told APP in an interview while

recapitulating Pak-Turkish close and friendly relationship in

diverse fields.

He said during their bilateral meetings the two sides had

been exploring more avenues to reinforce their multi-faceted

relations, particularly in defence and economic sectors.

"It is an on-going process and is always on the agenda for

further strengthening security and defence cooperation," he said.

Turkish Police had been helping Punjab police to build its capacity

in counter-terrorism and helped it train Dolphin Force for curbing

the street crimes.

On signing Free Trade Agreement (FTA), he said, both countries

had already signed the framework for the agreement in March this year

and there would be more round of talks in May and June for finalizing further details.

He said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had already instructed

for completion of negotiations by September this year when the two

countries are expected to ink the agreement.

The agreement would create a legal framework for greater trade

between two countries which was far below the actual potential, he

added.

FTA would open up vast opportunities for the Pak-Turk business communities which would be a consistency of the desire of both the

countries to further bolster their economic relations, said the envoy.

This will give them a chance to collaborate in bilateral business

ventures and start such projects with the third country as well, he

added.

Turkish ambassador to Islamabad Sadik Babur Girgin, in a recent

talk had also expressed similar views, saying there were massive

economic opportunities which should be tapped for the benefit of the

two people.

To a question on the start of cargo train between Pakistan and

Turkey, he said, efforts were underway while both the countries were

engaged in addressing many technical issues like schedule of the

trains and customs formalities.

He said Chambers of Commerce of Pakistan, Iran and Turkey needed

to be in touch and work out details about the cargo train. However,

he said Pakistan was keen to start the cargo train as soon as possible.

As the discussion between the two sides on the cargo train were

underway, some officials were of the opinion that there should be

guaranteed cargo while others would say the start of the train

would generate bookings and business activities on its own.

Describing the train service as a 'promising project',

the ambassador said it would help enhance trade between the

three countries and generate a lot of economic activities.

The envoy who had also taken some steps to further deepen

people-to-people contacts said Pak-Turkish relations transcended  governments as both the countries were bound by their special

cultural ties.

Quoting an example, he said, hundred years of Urdu were

recently celebrated in Turkey and Urdu was being taught at

the universities of Ankara, Istanbul and Seljuk.  Poet of the

East Allama Muhammad Iqbal was very popular in Turkey and his

spiritual association with Rumi was well known, he added.

Iqbal in his works had supported Turkey so he had a special

place in hearts of Turks as they felt a sense of gratitude to

him, he added.

Sohail Mahmood said this year Jinnah Young Writers Award

and an essay completion on the subject of Pak- Turkish relations

in historical relations were organised in Turkey to further

promote cultural relations between the two countries.

The ambassador said he was making special efforts to transfer

close relationship between the two countries to the younger generation

of Turkey. He said at least 1500 students from Pakistan were studying

in various universities of Turkey.