Sajid Hussain Shah
Turkey and Pakistan have maintained diplomatic relations since 1947. They were established shortly after Pakistan had gained its independence. The relations between the two countries have always been good, especially given that both nations share the same broader cultural roots – Arab, Persian and Turko-Mongol. They have become noticeably more intensive in recent years, thanks to the efforts of both sides.
Over the past few years, representatives of the two countries have been working together on various projects in the field of art and culture. One of the most notable projects was the building of a replica of one of Istanbul’s top landmarks, the Blue Mosque, in the Sukh Chayn Gardens residential complex in Lahore. It was led by the CEO of Sukh Chayn Gardens Ltd., Mr. Shujaat Azeem, who hired Turkish artisans to ensure that the new mosque would have the same astonishing exterior and interior.
The newly built Sukh Chayn Mosque was officially inaugurated by the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and China in 2015. It is now actively used by the residents of the housing establishment and acts as a bridge between the very close cultures of Pakistan and Turkey. Another recent event helping to strengthen the relationship between the two countries was the opening of a photo exhibition called “Turkey and Pakistan: Brother Countries” in Islamabad in February 2016. It featured photographs of monuments, historic sights and people involved in traditional arts and crafts. It is interesting to note that among most impressive photos were those of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
The trade volume between Turkey and Pakistan was $500 million during the period from 2014 to 2015. It is projected that with the new trade agreement between the two countries, which would eliminate some 85% of all tariffs, this volume would increase by anywhere between $500 and $600 million. Talks are already approaching the closing stage and the signing of the agreement is expected by the end of 2016. At present, Pakistan maintains a positive trade balance with Turkey.
The export volume ($309.19 million) is around one and a half times greater as compared to the import volume ($191.05 million). The goods with the biggest shares in the trade between the two countries include fabrics, beverages, spirits, vinegar, chemicals, plastics and machines.
In August 2016, a new agreement that would help both countries to further develop their medical sectors through more effective cooperation was signed between representatives of Turkey and Pakistan. It covers various major areas of this industry.
More specifically, officials and health authorities will work together to improve the healthcare services received by patients with the focus being on modernizing healthcare management in line with the latest international trends, making the procurement of medication more efficient and giving nurses more advanced training.
It is hoped that these positive changes will help not only for providing better medical treatment in the short term, but also for optimising the costs of healthcare facilities. This would enable them to invest in more sophisticated equipment and staff training that would increase the quality of services even further in the future. With the strengthening of the relationship between Turkey and Pakistan, effective cooperation in many other sectors is expected.