Erdogan, Shehbaz for upgrading ties

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PRIME Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whilst addressing a joint news conference in Ankara on Wednesday, renewed the pledge to take the bilateral relations between the two countries to new heights.

They also decided to hold a high level meeting in September to further foster their brotherly ties.

Given the mutual amity, cordiality and warmth, we have no doubt in saying that there is a great scope of adding further depth and breadth to this longstanding relationship.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has always shown special love and affection for Pakistani people who also hold him at high esteem.

Time has come to translate this goodwill into a strong economic and security partnership by seizing the opportunities in a timely and effective manner and by expanding the scope of engagements to research and exchanges of experiences and cooperation in high tech.

The academia and think tank communities of the two countries also need to play their role in this regard.

In our view, the very visit of PM Shehbaz Sharif has remained very productive as several MOUs were signed to take forward the relationship and this process must be taken forward to finalize the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) at the earliest which will really open new vistas of opportunities and further consolidate mutual economic connectivity.

An enabling environment should be provided to the business communities of both the sides to explore opportunities of joint ventures in dynamic industries such as tourism, resort development, catering and construction renewable energy, IT and so on.

Considering that Turkey ranks among the top producers of construction materials like cement, dye, bricks, steel, wires, valves, ceramics, and glass in the world, Turkish investment in these industries and exports to Central Asia by using Pakistan as a launch-pad will play a complementary role to regional integration.

The Turkish companies should also be invited to Pakistan and given a detailed briefing about the SEZs being set up under multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Their investment in the SEZs will change the economic landscape of Pakistan and help it address its longstanding economic woes.