Pak-Turk defence ties to be strengthened: Turkish defence minister

Pak-Turk defence ties to be strengthened: Turkish defence minister

ISLAMABAD: (APP) The Minister for National Defence of Turkey, Fikri Isik terming relations between Pakistan and Turkey as exemplary, said both countries have close defence ties.

He was addressing the Pakistan Day reception hosted by Pakistan's Ambassador to Turkey Sohail Mahmood in Ankara on March 23 as part of the National Day celebrations. A large number of distinguished guests participated in the reception.

According to a message received here Friday, senior Turkish civil and military leadership, leading businessmen, media representatives, Pakistani community, and diplomats based in Turkey attended 'Pakistan Day' reception.

The Minister for National Defence of Turkey, Fikri Isik, the chief guest said he witnessed closely the cordial hospitality of the people of Pakistan during his recent visit to Pakistan.

He said, "We always keep in our hearts alive the history of Turkish-Pakistan unity and brotherhood.

He said Turkish people would never forget the material and spiritual support given by the Muslims of subcontinent during the Turkish War of Independence and the solidarity shown by Pakistan during the 15 July coup attempt and afterwards.

Other high-level guests included Deputy Chief of Turkish General Staff General Umit Dundar, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Ahmet Yildiz, Deputy Minister for EU Affairs Ali Sahin, Deputy Minister of Economy, Fatih Metin, Chairman of Saadat Party, Temel Karamollaoglu, Chairman of Grand Union Party, Mustafa Destici and Head of Turkey-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Group, Muhammet Balta.

Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, in his remarks, underscored the fraternal ties between Pakistan and Turkey and noted that these relations were unique for the warmth, cordiality and mutual trust.

He noted that both countries were working to transform these cordial ties into a robust economic partnership.

He informed that the negotiations on a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) were in the final stages.

The ambassador added that steps were being taken to further promote investments, increase defence collaboration, and intensify cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges.

Referring to the year 2017, which marks the 70th Year of Pakistan-Turkey Diplomatic Relations, he stated that a series of events would be organized in the coming months to celebrate this milestone.

He thanked the brotherly people and government of Turkey for their invaluable support for all these efforts.

Guests were served Pakistani cuisine prepared by executive chefs invited especially from Pakistan. A 'Pakistan Food Festival' also commenced with the National Day reception. The food festival shall continue till 26 March 2017.

A stamps exhibition from the private collection of former parliamentarian, Arsan Savas Arpacioglu was organized on the sidelines.

Historical stamps issued by both Pakistan and Turkey on different occasions, stamps issued while Regional Cooperation for Development was operative, and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's handwritten book 'The Speech' were on display. A photography exhibition of Pakistan was also on display to mark the 'Pakistan Day.'

Separately, Turkey's traditional Mehter Band participated in the Pakistan Day Parade on March 23, in Islamabad. Later in the day, Istanbul University's Chairman of Urdu Department, Prof Dr Halil Toker, received 'Sitara-e-Imtiaz' from President Mamnoon Hussain during the investiture ceremony at Aiwan-e-Sadar, Islamabad in recognition of his services for the promotion of Urdu language and literature and Pakistan-Turkey cultural cooperation.