ISLAMABAD Pakistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan on Wednesday expressed their determination to continue cooperation to promote peace, stability, and development in the region, besides enhancing cooperation in areas of trade, investment and defence production.
The resolve of the three countries was expressed at a joint press stakeout by foreign ministers of the three countries – Shah Mahmood Qureshi of Pakistan, Mevlut Cavusoglu of Turkey and Jeyhun Bayramov of Azerbaijan – at the conclusion of second trilateral meeting of the forum here at the Foreign Office.
“Pakistan has unique space in the hearts of the people of Turkey. Both countries support each other in difficult times,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
He said the current trade volume between the two countries is $800 million, which, he said, does not reflect the true potential of the two countries and this volume needs to be enhanced.
“We want to bring dynamism in our economic cooperation and the Strategic Economic Framework Document signed by President Erdogan and Prime Minister Khan last year provides is a necessary roadmap,” he added.
He said over 100 Turkish companies are currently working in Pakistan in diverse fields and we are encouraging more companies to come and invest in Pakistan.
He said both countries are enhancing cooperation in the sector of defence production, adding that the mutual cooperation with regard to corvettes, Turkish Atak helicopters and Pakistani Mushshak aircraft are a few some examples of the cooperation.
In 2017, Pakistan-Turkey had signed an agreement to buy 30 helicopters.
However, in 2018, the US Department of Defence did not give engine export permit for the T129, and Turkey will now start to replace its own indigenous engine.
“Today, in the trilateral meeting, we agreed to working together to advance security, stability and prosperity,” the Turkish foreign minister said, adding that the third meeting of the forum will be held in Turkey.
“All three of us, underlined the importance of connectivity, development, developing infrastructure of transport and energy,” he added.
“We also discussed the joint response to regional developments including Jammu and Kashmir, Nagorno-Karabakh, Cyprus, Eastern Mediterranean and the situation in Afghanistan. We expressed our full solidarity with our Kashmiri brothers and sisters in the face of worsening human rights situations and demographic change [in Jammu and Kashmir], especially during the last two years. We believe that unilateral steps complicated situations further,” the Turkish foreign minister said, adding the three sides also reiterated their concerns over the situations.
Cavusoglu extended Turkey’s full support to the people of Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and called for resolution of the Kashmir dispute as per the relevant UN resolutions.
An MoU relating to cooperation in the education field (working of Turkish MAARIF Foundation) was signed following the conclusion of delegation-level talks.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Minister of Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood signed the MoU.
Under the MoU, the MAARIF Foundation will open more schools and a university in Pakistan.
Currently, Cavusoglu added, 83 schools are run under MAARIF Foundation in Pakistan.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said a host of topics ranging from trade, investment, security, connectivity, and strategic cooperation came under discussion during the meeting.
He said the trilateral meeting also discussed global and regional security environment, crimes against Muslim minority in various countries, the challenges of growing Islamophobia and Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the meeting exchanged views on enhancing cooperation in the fields of energy, environment and people-to-people contacts.
He said special emphasis was made on increasing parliamentary and media exchanges among the three countries for better understanding and harmony.
Qureshi thanked his Turkish and Azerbaijan counterparts for their support on the Kashmir dispute.
Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov said the three sides condemned terrorism and rejected Islamophobia.
He expressed the resolve to continue extending cooperation for regional peace and development.
He also thanked Pakistan and Turkey for extending their full support during the second war for the liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh.
He also invited Pakistani investors to invest in the rebuilding of the newly-liberated areas in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Islamabad Declaration was signed on the conclusion of the second round of trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of the three countries.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021