ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday held a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara wherein they decided to hold the next round of high-level consultations between the two countries in the month of September in Pakistan’s federal capital.
Sharif was warmly received by Erdogan after he arrived at the Presidential Complex during his first official visit to Turkey since assuming the top political office of his country on April 11.
Both leaders introduced each other to their cabinet members who were also present at the ceremony.
Addressing a gathering attended by senior Pakistani and Turkish officials, Erdogan said the two countries had reaffirmed their determination to increase the scope of their cooperation at the bilateral and international platforms.
He noted that high-level strategic cooperation councils between the two countries would continue their consultations to further broaden and deepen the ties between the two countries.
“During the talks we held today, we have come to terms that hopefully and most probably this meeting will take place in September in Pakistan,” he said.
Erdogan added the two countries would also sign a strategic and economic framework agreement in Islamabad that would encompass areas ranging from bilateral trade to defense industry.
“We have grown our mutual trade volume which has exceeded the figure of $1 billion for the first time after 2010,” he said. “Our aim is to achieve a figure of $5 billion.”
Speaking at the occasion, Sharif applauded the “unique bond” between the two countries which he said was rooted in history.
“We look at these relations as a sacred trust that has been passed on to us by our forefathers and which we are committed to handing over to our succeeding generations,” he maintained.
The prime minister also invited Erdogan to come to Islamabad in September for the next round of bilateral consultations.
“Pakistan and Turkey are natural partners,” he continued. “Many of our challenges are the same as are our opportunities. Our two nations have stood by each other in times of need and on issues of core interests.”
Earlier, the two leaders witnessed the signing of several memoranda of understanding by their cabinet members which ranged from highway engineering to economic relations and debt management.
Sharif arrived in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Tuesday with a high-level political delegation while business leaders from Pakistan and representatives of leading companies across sectors also traveled separately to participate in business engagements.
Turkish companies have already invested more than $1 billion in different sectors in Pakistan, including construction, power, solid waste management, hygiene products, electronics and dairy.
“Foreign investment is critical to our efforts to stabilize the economy,” Sharif said in a Twitter post. “In my meeting with leading Turkish investors today, I invited them to invest in the energy & infrastructure sectors. My government will be there to facilitate them proactively.”