- Turkish president asks Pakistan to remain vigilant of ‘terrorist Gulen network’
- Says both countries have agreed to raise volume of bilateral trade to one billion dollars
- Army chief remains focus of attention for lawmakers, journalists
In his third address to the Pakistani Parliament, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday called for enhanced bilateral cooperation and solidarity against “terrorist organisations”.
“Terrorist organisations such as Al Qaeda and its affiliate Daesh are the agents of war carried out against Islam, who are only harming Muslims. We should eliminate these bands of killers, who have no other skill than to shed Muslims’ blood, from the Islamic world and from all over the world as soon as possible,” the Turkish leader said in his detailed speech.
The joint session of the Parliament, which started around one and a half hour late, was largely attended by lawmakers from treasury and opposition benches. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which is the third largest parliamentary group, along with its ally, Awami Muslim League (AML), however, did not attend.
Since the guest did not arrive on time, the lawmakers remained busy in group discussions. Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, who was sitting in the gallery along with other services chiefs, was the focus of attention as lawmakers made all possible efforts to meet the military leader and have a handshake.
Despite the fact that the guards and assembly staff tried their best to restrict efforts by lawmakers to reach the army chief, many were able to shake hands and have a word or two with the general.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed remained very active. He kept moving from one bench to another and have friendly chit-chat with fellow parliamentarians.
“Terrorist organisations are hurting both Islam and Muslim countries… And everyone knows the West is helping them … ‘Daesh’ is an agent of war and terrorists are bringing a bad name to Islam,” the visiting Turkish president said.
He spoke of the need for progress in an ‘Islamic’ way and to fight against anyone “who is a threat to our future.” He cautioned that otherwise, Turkey, Pakistan, the world of Islam and mankind could not attain peace.
Erdogan said Islam was a religion of peace and the Muslim Ummah must forge unity and take practical measures to counter the threat of terrorism.
President Erdogan also targeted the Gulen movement in his speech.
“Fethullah Gulen, while sitting in Pennsylvania, is dreaming to rule the entire world … Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organisation (FETO) poses a threat not only to Turkey but to all countries in which it operates … FETO has a network in 120 countries,” he said, adding that Pakistan, with its stance against the 15 July coup attempt, perpetrated by FETO, showed that it also stood by the Turkish nation in its second war of liberation.
Erdogan warned that FETO, with its network in Pakistan, could also harm the brotherly state of Pakistan. He thanked Pakistan for extending the necessary cooperation in tackling the challenge thrown by the organisation of Fethullah.
“I wholeheartedly believe that this terrorist organisation will be eliminated as soon as possible without harming brotherly Pakistan. I appreciate the recent decisions taken by the Pakistani government in this direction, and I thank you for your strong support in our fight against FETO,” he said.
“The recent development in solidarity and support has been the decision to ask Pak-Turk staff to leave by Nov 20,” Erdogan said. “This organisation will find no shelter in Pakistan.”
“The students in the Pak-Turk schools will be taken care of the to the highest standards thanks to joint cooperation between Pakistan and Turkey,” Erdogan said.
He also spoke about the deep-rooted and historic relationship between people of Pakistan and Turkey and said they were real brothers.
“The two countries have always been sharing each other’s joy and grief,” he said, referring the sacrifices rendered by Muslims of South Asia during the ‘Khilafat Movement’, adding that the Turkish nation would ever remain indebted to Pakistan.
CONCERNS OVER LOC, KASHMIR
Raising concerns about the situation in Kashmir, the Turkish president said the events in Kashmir continued to hurt our conscience.
He said the latest developments in Kashmir once again demonstrated the importance and the urgency of the solution of this problem. “We are aware of the distress and suffering of our Kashmiri brothers and sisters. We are deeply concerned about the increase in tensions,” he said.
Erdogan said the international community should make more efforts to resolve this issue (Kashmir), which had political and humanitarian dimensions, according to justice and law.
He, amid desk thumping, said that the resolution of the dispute was in dialogue between Pakistan and India for which Turkey was ready to extend any cooperation. He said people of Turkey cherished their memories about the wholehearted assistance rendered by Pakistan after 1999 earthquake in Turkey.
The Turkish president also recalled that Pakistan had declared a day of mourning after the mining disaster in Soma in 2014 in his country and Turkey had declared one day of official mourning after the APS attack in Peshawar. “Pakistan was the first country to stand by Turkey after the 15 July coup attempt,” he said.
“Our target is to further expand the multidimensional relationship with Pakistan in different fields including defence, culture, education and health,” he said. He also announced that both the countries had set the target of enhancing the bilateral trade to one billion dollars.
He said both the countries had signed over fifty MoUs and agreements over the last few years. “We need to focus on such projects that create job opportunities for our peoples,” he said.
He further said both Pakistan and Turkey were blessed with immense capabilities. “We do not need to bow before others to exploit this potential. The need for strong relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan is vital for peace and security in the region,” he said.
Earlier, welcoming the Turkish president, Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq had paid glowing tribute to him.
The speaker said both nations had always strongly advocated the cause of marginalised and oppressed people world-wide be it the Palestinians, the Turk Cypriots or the people of Occupied Kashmir. Following his speech, Erdogan met with parliamentary leaders and legislators sitting on first row.