Turkish leader’s Pakistan visit to be ‘historic’: Envoy

Turkey's ambassador to Pakistan said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Islamabad this week would be a major step towards exemplary bilateral ties between two brotherly countries.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency in Islamabad, Mustafa Yurdakul said the countries would sign several agreements to enhance cooperation in various sectors.

"We will have some concrete documents to be signed during the visit, we will have our high-level strategic cooperation council meeting, which I can describe as a joint sitting of the two councils of ministers of respective countries -- all the ministers and the leaders. They will have the opportunity to interact directly with their counterparts," said Yurdakul.

Erdogan will arrive in Islamabad on Thursday for a two-day official visit along with a high-level delegation.

"More than 60 Turkish businessmen will be accompanying the president. So, this is also a very important event which will take our commercial and economic relationship to a new level," he said.

Historic visit

Q: The Turkish president is coming to Pakistan and people are very happy here, could you tell us about his engagement and any agreements that will be signed during this visit?

Mustafa Yurdakul: First of all, I should point out that it is very heartwarming to see the affection, the love Pakistani people extend to Turkey and our president, Mr. Erdogan. The Turkish president visiting Pakistan is a historic event, it is a very big event. This one will be another historic step towards our exemplary bilateral relationship. We will have some concrete documents to be signed during the visit, we will have our high-level strategic cooperation council meeting, which I can describe as a joint sitting of the two Council of Ministers of the respective countries, all the ministers and the leaders, they will have the opportunity to interact directly with their counterparts so that we will be giving a new impetus, a new face, to our already-thriving and very positive bilateral cooperation. This is more than cooperation. What exists between Turkey and Pakistan is more than friendship. It's a bond and this bond is there and will be there to stay. This kind of visit will strengthen this bond between the two peoples and between the two countries. Apart from his meetings with the prime minister and Mr. President [of Pakistan], Mr. Erdogan will also have the opportunity to address the joint sitting of the parliament -- the National Assembly and the Senate. This will also be a very remarkable event because I know that it is eagerly-awaited, by the senators and parliamentarians, what he [Erdogan] will say on anything related to Turkey and Pakistan and of wider geography. We will also have a business forum meeting. For that purpose alone, more than 60 Turkish businessman will be accompanying Mr. President. So, this is also a very important event which will take our commercial and economic relationship to a new level. So overall, what we will see is Mr. President will be embraced by the Pakistani people and by the Pakistani leadership.

It is always a great joy and pleasure for our president to visit Pakistan because he's very much aware of his popularity here in Pakistan. So, this will be a very positive, heartwarming and very promising visit for both countries.

Bilateral trade

Q: It's also expected that Pakistan and Turkey will sign the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) during this visit.

MY: What we will be signing during the visit is a strategic economic framework, which will entail almost each and every economic and trade aspect of our relationship, be it energy, transport, agriculture, defense production, etc. This framework will put a new roadmap for both countries to follow with a view to further enhancing our cooperation in the economic, trade and investment fields. For the FTA, we are all in favor of some sort of trade agreement between the two countries. The talks for that is ongoing and we will continue to discuss with our Pakistani counterparts to come up with an agreement that will facilitate bilateral trade. Our trade minister will be in the delegation and she will be meeting with her counterpart here and we will see what the next steps will be in that regard.

Turkish-Pakistani dual citizenship

Q: Last week Pakistan's Interior Ministry said Islamabad and Ankara were considering signing an agreement on dual nationality. Could you elaborate on this initiative?

MY: This is not something like a provision of dual citizenship for each and every Pakistani national. This is more like a recognition of those who have acquired Turkish citizenship, or vice versa Pakistani citizenship, to mark their status for respective countries with a view for laws and regulations. In other words, what we are working on in principle is that we need to have an agreement like Pakistan has with, for example, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, because each and every passing day I notice a growing interest on the Pakistani side to invest more in Turkey. Since we have some schemes for giving nationality to foreign investors, Turkey is becoming a point of attraction also for Pakistani brothers and Pakistani investors. So, we felt that it might be time to deliberate this issue and, you know, to come up with some kind of understanding between the two countries, how the dual citizens will be treated in the respective countries. This is the gist of the issue.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Q: Last week Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said during his interview with Anadolu Agency that Erdogan would come to Pakistan along with a high-level diplomatic and business delegation. He hoped to involve them in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor [CPEC]. How do you see this offer?

MY: Now the first phase of CPEC is at a completion level and talks and efforts are ongoing for phase two. In phase two, the expectation is that Pakistan would turn into more of a hub for commercial exchanges through the free economic zones.

Of course, we are interested in being a part of those special economic zones. What we do and advocate is for more Turkish businesspeople to come and invest in Pakistan and be part of this huge effort to turn Pakistan into a trading hub. So, if the opportunities are there for more Turkish companies to take part in such activities -- such zones and projects � I think we would be delighted to consider it in a very positive way.

Finally, I want to say is, let's enjoy the fact that the Turkish president is coming to Pakistan. Let's pray for the well-being and prosperity of both of our countries. Let's see the fact that Pakistan and Turkey are very lucky and blessed to have each other as ironclad brothers, in the sphere of international relations. This brotherhood is here to stay and both peoples will reap the benefits of this brotherhood more and more in the days and years to come.

Source: Anadolu Agency