STAFF REPORTER ISLAMABAD Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday pledged his continued support for Islamabad and its stance on occupied Kashmir and other issues of importance including FATF. Addressing a joint session of Pakistani Parliament for a record fourth time he said, “I thank God for giving me this opportunity and I am thankful to each of you for allowing me to address this session.” Thanking people of Pakistan for the warm welcome, he said: “Here, in Pakistan, we never consider ourselves as strang ers. We feel ourselves at home, in one of the most important meeting points in Asia, in the fertile geography of the Islamic world. Fraternal ties between Turkey and Pakistan have been granted to very few countries and nations of the world.” “I would like to convey the greeting of 83 million brothers and sisters in Turkey,” said the foreign dignitary at the start of his speech. “Relations between Pakistan and Turkey are admirable. Pakistan has always supported Turkey during difficult times.” The Turkish leader quoted Pakistan’s national poet, Allama Iqbal, and said the people of Pakistan have always stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of Turkey. “We can never forget this.” “No distance can build a wall between the hearts of believers. If there is torture against any believers in the world, it’s our duty to help them. The Turkish president also discussed the recently unveiled US plan for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Erdogan recalled various events, he termed as “golden examples” that Pakistan and Turkey share in their “common history”. “In the year 1915, while the Turkish soldiers defended the Dardanelles Strait with a glorious resistance, a rally took place […] 6,000 kilometres from the front and it was recorded on the unforgettable pages of history. “The theme of this historical rally in Lahore Square was Çanakkale […] On that day, Lahore Square was jam-packed with Muslims as we were struggling to survive and our brothers and sisters in this geographic [region] were also under pressure of the colonialists. “Despite challenges and threats, they raised a huge charity for Çanakkale through the exhibitions in the square.” The Gallipoli campaign, which is also known as the Battle of Çanakkale was one of the bloodiest campaigns of the First World War that took place in what is modern-day Turkey. The campaign, which began after Allied Forces landed in the Turkish peninsula to oust the Ottoman Empire, resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands on both sides. “Dear brothers and sisters who else should we love and feel affection for other than you.” He continued, “Today, Kashmir for us is what it is for you,” said Erdogan reiterating his support for Pakistan’s stance. “Our Kashmiri brothers and sisters have suffered for decades and the transgressions have become graver.” “We once again demonstrated our country’s sensitivity in this matter by defending Kashmir at the 74th United Nations General Assembly. The Kashmir issue cannot be resolved through conflict but through justice and fairness. Such a solution will be in the interest of all parties. Turkey will continue to stand by justice, peace and dialogue. “How can we forget the people of this nation who prayed for Turkey.Our friendship is based on love and not vested interests.” President Erdogan said, “Short-term interests, daily reckonings cannot hinder our everlasting and eternal brotherhood.” “I am thankful on behalf of the Turkish people for the support Pakistan has extended to us when there were earthquakes in Turkey. Like in the past, we will continue to support Pakistan in the future,” vowed the Turkish leader. He also said Ankara would support Islamabad in regards to the Financial Action Task Force. “No one can break the bond of Muslim brotherhood in any way. Everyone should stand with one another.” Referring to other conflict zones, the Turkish president said it is our responsibility to provide assistance to Muslims, no matter where they are. “Turkey has played a leading role in Libya, Yemen, Syria and Palestine. We have been on the front lines of the battle to liberate innocent Muslims across the region. With this understanding, Turkey endeavours to eliminate the differences between the Ummah, to find a solution to the disputes and to claim our righteous causes, especially Palestine, Cyprus and Kashmir.” During his address, Erdogan also referred to the ‘deal of the century’ by US President Donald Trump. “This is not a peace plan, it’s a plan of occupation.” “We have been actively engaged in all matters concerning the Muslim Ummah especially during our presidency of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. We took an honourable and determined stance against the attacks of Israel on our first Qibla, Al-Quds Al-Sharif. We declared to the whole world that we would not leave Haram Al-Sharif at the mercy of the occupying Israeli administration by saying,” elaborated the President Erdogan. The Turkish president ended his speech by reciting a few verses of the Pakistani national anthem and prayers for the two countries and the Muslim world. Earlier on arrival at the Parliament, the Turkish president was received by Prime Minister Imran Khan, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.