Closer ties with Türkiye

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THE two-day visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to brotherly country Türkiye reflected the warmth of relations between the two countries but has also highlighted the need to strengthen the relationship further in different spheres of life.

The visit was necessarily in connection with the launching of the third of the four MILGEM Corvette Ships for the Pakistan Navy, PNS Khaiber, at the Istanbul Shipyard but his talks with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoðan covered the entire gamut of bilateral relations and the two leaders agreed to transform their ties into strategic partnership.

The Turkish President is a true friend of Pakistan and never disappointed the country whenever approached for any cooperative move and the relationship was on a higher trajectory during the previous tenure of PML(N) when the Punjab Government also developed a special cooperative relationship with Türkiye.

The Turkish cooperation helped Pakistan modernize its energy and transport sector besides improvement in making the cities clean and hygiene.

Unfortunately, these highly beneficial cooperative ventures including those relating to efficient disposal of the solid waste were either discarded or treated in a lacklustre manner by the previous government and as a result we witness heaps of garbage lying on roads and streets of major cities.

In this backdrop, the proposal of the Prime Minister to forge cooperation in the production of solar, wind and hydel energy to cut carbon emissions and open up new avenues of investment cooperation assumes greater significance.

The new government in Pakistan has expressed the resolve to promote solar energy as part of the strategy to address the challenges in the energy sector and concrete move to enlist Turkish cooperation in this regard can benefit the country enormously.

It may be mentioned that Türkiye is Europe’s biggest solar panel manufacturer and the fourth in the world and its solar power had the biggest leap since 2014, from just 40MW to more than 8 GW.

Defence cooperation between the two countries is also encouraging as it is contributing to Pakistan’s modernization plans for Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Air Force but there is definitely scope and potential to expand it in the realm of defence production, especially when Pakistan has assumed a position of quality supplier of small arms and ammunition.

There is also potential to increase bilateral trade meaningfully as has also been emphasized by the Prime Minister who saw no reason not to push it from the existing just $1 billion to $5 billion in the next three years.

Similar statements were also issued in the past as well on the basis of available potential but regrettably we are slow in giving practical shape to our commitments.