Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif vowed to enhance bilateral cooperation during a joint press conference in Ankara.

Earlier, Erdogan welcomed Sharif and his delegation – currently on a three-day official visit to Türkiye – at the presidential complex.
Earlier, Erdogan welcomed Sharif and his delegation – currently on a three-day official visit to Türkiye – at the presidential complex. (AFP)

Türkiye and Pakistan are determined to increase cooperation on both bilateral and international platforms, the Turkish president has said.

"We have comprehensively discussed our bilateral relations, and regional and global issues," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday while addressing a joint press conference with Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, following one-on-one and delegation-level talks in Ankara.

"We are ready to further strengthen Türkiye-Pakistan relations "with a strategic perspective in line with the history, friendship, and potential of the two countries," he added.

On bilateral cooperation in the defence industry, Erdogan said: "We are pleased with the concrete cooperation on projects developed recently ... The joint corvettes production as part of Türkiye’s National Ship Project (MILGEM) sets an important example."

In July 2018, Pakistan Navy signed a contract for the acquisition of four MILGEM-class ships with Türkiye's state-run defence firm ASFAT. According to the plan, two corvettes will be built in Türkiye and the other two will be built in Pakistan, which also involves technology transfer.

"We have achieved the annual bilateral trade volume worth $1 billion, and are aiming to increase it to $5 billion," the Turkish president said.

The two leaders, with the participation of Cabinet members of both countries, also attended the signing ceremony of the agreements.

Türkiye and Pakistan signed seven agreements in various fields including trade, housing, debt management, and transportation.

READ MORE: Pakistan prime minister hails Türkiye ties, stresses economic cooperation

Ensuring stability in Afghanistan

Erdogan said ensuring permanent stability in Afghanistan is of critical importance and "we are working together to help the Afghan people alleviate the effects of the humanitarian crisis."

About the longstanding Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, Erdogan said: "We continue to support the efforts put forward to resolve the Kashmir issue ... in line with the legitimate expectations of our Kashmiri brothers and within the framework of the UN resolutions."

'Türkiye's enemies are Pakistan's enemies'

For his part, Prime Minister Sharif, who is in Türkiye on a three-day official visit, expressed full support to Ankara in its fight against terrorism, including the PKK.

“Our two nations have stood with each other in times of need and on issues of core interest,” he said. 

"Pakistan stands with Türkiye in its fight against terrorism including the threats posed by FETO (the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Türkiye) and the PKK. Enemies of Türkiye are enemies of Pakistan," Sharif underlined.

The Pakistani premier said the two sides will further the bilateral ties with a focus on trade, defence, energy, tourism, and education, and that he looks forward to welcoming Erdogan to Islamabad in September.

Terming Pakistan and Türkiye as “natural partners,” Sharif said a “strong” business delegation from Türkiye will visit Pakistan for “solid and productive results.”

Lauding Türkiye’s progress in e-commerce, tourism, education and infrastructure, Sharif said Pakistan would be “very happy” to get Türkiye's support in sectors such as hydropower generation and renewable energy.

The Pakistani prime minister said he expects further cooperation in the defence sector including in the sale of Turkish-made ATAK helicopters.

Thanking Türkiye for its “steadfast support” on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, Sharif said: “Türkiye’s unflinching support provides great strength to valiant Kashmiri people who have been subjected to the worst kinds of human rights violations for over seven decades.”

Sharif also expressed support for Turkish Cypriots, saying that "we will continue to support their legitimate rights and aspirations.”

The Pakistani prime minister also met Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier in the day and addressed Türkiye-Pakistan Business Council on Tuesday. 

Sharif's delegation includes Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Defense Minister Khawaja Asif, among others.

READ MORE: Erdogan: Türkiye to help strengthen Pakistan's military infrastructure

Source: AA