Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has praised Pakistan for its efforts in cracking down on a global network linked to US-based cult leader Fethullah Gulen.
Ankara accuses Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since leaving Turkey in 1999, of orchestrating a failed military coup attempt to topple the Turkish government in July last year.
Turkish authorities have been prosecuting members of the network, commonly known as the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), since the abortive putsch amid mass investigations into the suspected infiltration of state institutions, including the military, the police, the judiciary, universities and schools.
"We know that brotherly country Pakistan is showing a meticulous approach to wiping out this terror group,” Prime Minister Yildirim said in a joint press conference with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Ankara on Thursday.
Describing FETO as a threat to national security to both countries, Yildirim underlined that the network remains active in about 170 countries around the world.
Sharif, who arrived in Turkey on a three-day visit to co-chair the fifth High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting on the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Pakistan, reiterated his support for the Turkish government against FETO, as well as the PKK and Daesh.
The two countries are expected to sign a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) this year. Turkey and Pakistan have already signed agreements and memoranda of understanding in the fields of hydrocarbons, environment, forestry, news agency cooperation, and exchange of financial intelligence and armed forces personnel in previous High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council meetings.
The council meetings also resulted in six joint working groups in energy, finance, banking, transport and communications, culture and tourism and education.