Pakistan and Turkey on Tuesday reiterated the commitment to continue to transform the cordial bilateral relationship into a robust strategic partnership. This was announced in a joint declaration "On Strengthening Pakistan-Turkey strategic relationship", issued after talks between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, in which the two sides reaffirmed the immutable bonds of common faith, shared history, cultural affinity and brotherhood between the people of Pakistan and Turkey.
They underscored the unique and abiding character of Pakistan-Turkey relations, marked by exceptional mutual trust, understanding and goodwill. It stated that the two sides expressed profound satisfaction with regard to continued development and expansion of bilateral relations in the political, economic, security and cultural domains.
The declaration emphasised the common vision of the two countries for peace and development for their peoples and the region and reaffirmed the resolve to fight extremism and terrorism in all forms and manifestations.
The two sides also strongly condemned the sacrilegious campaign; stressing the need for respecting all religions and calling for criminalization of all acts of Islamophobia. It also reaffirmed the commitment to continue efforts to promote better understanding and inter-faith harmony.
The two sides endorsed the results of the meetings of the Joint Working Groups of the High Level Strategic Co-operation Council (HLSCC), held in Islamabad, on February 16, 2015.
Text of the joint declaration: We, as the co-chairs of the 4th Meeting of the High Level Strategic Co-operation Council, held in Islamabad, on 17 February 2015, with the participation of:
-- Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Idris Güllüce, Minister of Environment and Urbanisation, Nihat Zeybekci, Minister of Economy, Taner Y?ld?z, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Mehmet Müezzino?lu, Minister of Health, Lütfi Elvan, Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication,
Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister for Commerce, Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Minister of Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatisation, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Ahsan Iqbal, Minister of Planning, Development and Reforms, Kamran Michael, Minister for Ports and Shipping, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Water and Power, Saira Afzal Tarar, Minister of State for National Health Services,
-- Other prominent dignitaries and officials,
Have decided as follows:
-- The HLSCC shall continue to serve as the highest level political forum and provide strategic focus and direction to the relationship in all dimensions.
-- The Joint Working Groups shall ensure effective implementation and follow-up of the decisions taken at the HLSCC meetings.
-- Intensive exchanges shall be promoted at the leadership, parliamentary, business, cultural, civil society, media and people-to-people levels.
-- The excellent mutual co-operation and collaboration in international organisations, particularly in the United Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation and the Economic Co-operation Organisation, as well as international initiatives such as Istanbul Process-Heart of Asia will be further enhanced and deepened, including extending support for our candidatures, coordinating policies and taking joint initiatives.
-- Both sides agree on the need to make the United Nations Security Council more representative, democratic, transparent, effective and accountable, and that UNSC reform should be comprehensive and it should take place by widest consensus possible.
-- The next annual consultations at the level of Foreign Ministers shall be held in Turkey, in 2015.
-- The next Bilateral Political Consultations at the level of Foreign Secretaries shall be held in Islamabad, before the end of 2015.
Security and Defence Co-operation:
-- Co-operation in the fight against terrorism and extremism, organized crimes and drug trafficking shall be further intensified.
-- Bilateral co-operative endeavours, including police training, capacity-building, personnel exchanges and exchange of experience shall be further enhanced.
-- In follow-up of the High Level Military Dialogue Group (HLMDG) meeting in Rawalpindi, in October 2014, both sides would intensify politico-military co-operation, while defence-related industries would focus on joint defence production and related research and development activities.
-- Additional opportunities shall be pursued for intensified engagement including through joint exercises, increased defence personnel exchanges and defence dialogues.
Finance and Banking Co-operation:
-- Co-operation in the fields of finance and banking including insurance, capital market, anti-money laundering, budget, financial reporting and audit shall be enhanced.
Trade and Economic Co-operation:
-- Intensified trade and commercial co-operation matching the excellent political relationship would constitute a central priority. Concerted steps shall be taken for realising the vast untapped potential for bilateral trade and commercial co-operation.
-- Special emphasis shall be placed on further deepening the involvement of the private sector, enhancing business-to-business interface and facilitating transportation of merchandise.
-- The two sides agreed to provide favourable investment climate to their respective investors.
-- The next session of the Joint Business Council (JBC) shall be held in Turkey in first half of 2015, with both sides ensuring that the JBC's activities fully reinforce the efforts for increased trade and investment promotion.
-- The decisions of the 15th Session of Pakistan-Turkey Joint Ministerial Commission for Economic and Technical Co-operation (JEC), held in Ankara, in October 2014, shall be implemented with a view to providing further boost to trade and economic co-operation.
-- Building upon their previous efforts and progress achieved for concluding a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), the two sides will consider to commence negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) covering trade in goods, services and investment after completing the compulsory and procedural requirements in both countries.
-- The two sides shall also tap opportunities for enhanced co-operation through market access initiatives under regional organisations such as the OIC, D-8 and ECO.
-- Both sides express their willingness to improve energy co-operation - with focus on petroleum, natural gas, coal, hydroelectric, geo-thermal and renewable resources such as wind and solar power.
- Pakistan side invites Turkish companies to invest in energy sector projects in Pakistan, especially in the field of coal based power generation and power transmission sector.
-- Both sides express their willingness for the Turkish Petroleum International Company (TPIC) to trade oil products to private and public companies of Pakistan under prevalent rules/policy.
Communications and Transportation Co-operation:
-- A meeting of Joint Road Transport Commission shall be organized during 2015 to finalise the modalities involved in enforcement of the Bilateral Road Transport Agreement.
-- Efforts shall be expedited to provide capital to finance scheduled service of the ECO Container Train for the first six months (two service per month) as well as sales and marketing expenses in order to generate commercial cargo to sustain profitable operation of the train.
-- Possibilities of Joint Ventures between Pakistan Railways and Turkish Railway Machinery Company, Turkish Wagon Industry and Turkish Locomotive Industry shall be explored.
-- To enhance co-operation in maritime transportation, a joint meeting of Pakistani Port Authorities shall be organized and Turkish Port Authorities to discuss and formulate a detailed plan for development/establishment of Vessel Tracking System (VTS).
-- With a view to strengthening the bilateral relations in the civil aviation sector, the two sides will hold a bilateral civil aviation meeting at the earliest convenience and consider a further increase in the frequencies of scheduled flights between the two countries.
-- The two sides confirm their willingness to encourage co-operation in the field of information and communication technologies, broadband and postal services within the framework of equality, reciprocity and common interest in accordance with the legislation and regulations of each country.
-- The Postal Authorities shall pursue collaboration in the fields of:
a. International and local remittance services between Turkey and Pakistan; and
b. Express and Logistic Services and E-commerce through Postal Network for enhancing co-operation in ICT-based postal services between the two countries.
Cultural and Tourism Co-operation:
-- The two sides shall support organisations which promote cultural events with the participation of cultural delegations, including art and art exhibitions, festivals, meetings and conferences.
-- Joint research programmes shall be undertaken in the fields of archaeology, conservation of monuments and archeological sites and museums.
-- The two sides shall exchange publications and reports on recent research on archeological sites and museums.
-- Visits of the delegations consisting of archaeologists, museologists and conservationists of monuments and archeological sites to the important historical sites, historical monuments, museums and conservation laboratories shall be exchanged.
-- Cultural troupes shall be exchanged for performance in major cities of the two countries.
-- The two sides shall expedite the process of establishment of their respective cultural centers.
-- The two sides shall hold seminars on Allama Muhammad Iqbal and Meulana Jalaluddin Rumi on a reciprocal basis.
-- The two sides shall exchange documentaries to be shown on national Television Networks of Turkey and Pakistan on a reciprocal basis for the promotion of culture and heritage.
-- Visits of journalists, media representatives, film crews, tour operators, airway company representatives, opinion leaders etc shall be encouraged to increase tourism demand in both countries.
-- Both sides shall exchange information on investment opportunities in the field of Tourism.
-- Both sides shall organise cultural activities mutually in 2015-2016 in accordance with internal procedures.
Education and Science Co-operation:
-- Student and faculty exchange programmes, institutional linkages between higher educational institutions in both countries and holding of Educational Expos shall be increased.
-- The two sides will share experience on the establishment of TVET schools.
-- The Turkish side shall provide Training of Trainers (Master Trainers) for general as well as Technical and Vocational Education.
-- Sister School on General and Technical and Vocational Education will be declared for sharing experience through diplomatic channels.
-- Both sides shall provide teachers, curriculum and training materials for introduction of Urdu and Turkish languages courses on a reciprocal basis.
-- The Parties shall endeavour to increase provision of scholarships for undergraduate, graduate (Master, PhD), research and language course levels each year in the fields that are needed in their respective countries within the limits of available means.
-- Within the existing framework, co-operation shall be intensified in science, technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, and research & development through sharing of information, experience, joint R&D projects, seminars, conferences and mutual exchange of professionals in the agreed areas of mutual interest.
-- Co-operation in the field of food and agriculture shall be comprehensively upgraded.
-- Both sides shall benefit from each other's experience and strengths in diverse sectors including agricultural research, plant and animal health and agricultural infrastructure and irrigation systems.
The six Joint Working Groups of the High Level Strategic Co-operation Council shall continue their work to develop and implement specific programmes and projects.
The next meeting of the High Level Strategic Co-operation Council shall be held in Ankara, in 2016. The dates shall be agreed upon through diplomatic channels.