Tuesday January 8, 20T19
By ZAMIR AWAN
Two strong leaders met to reaffirm the century-old friendship between their brotherly nations in Ankara on January 4.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is a brave, honest and visionary leader who has deep feelings about the oppression of the global Muslim community, or ummah. In his maiden speech after winning the general election in July 2018, he said he wanted to promote peace and stability, especially in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Kashmir.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the strongman leader of a proud nation. The Ottoman Empire (1299-1922), which spread over parts of Asia, Africa and Europe, was the greatest in Muslim history.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
Khan visited Turkey on the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 3-5 January. He laid a wreath at Anitkabir, the mausoleum of the Turkish Republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as part of an official state visit to Ankara on January 4.
As Khan left, he signed the guest book, writing: “It is a matter of great honor for me to be present here to pay homage to one of the greatest statesmen and visionary leaders of the 20th century – Ghazi Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Leading the Turkish nation at one of the most challenging times, he changed the course of Turkish and indeed the world’s history, becoming an inspiration for all those resisting the tide of colonialism across the world. He was an epitome of courage, strength, resilience, forbearance, and wisdom.”
He continued: “Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, described Ataturk as ‘one of the greatest men who has ever lived.’ On behalf of the Government and people of Pakistan, I would like to convey my deepest admiration and respect for Ghazi Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. His glorious struggle and leadership for the independence and unity of the Turkish nation will forever remain a golden chapter in the annals of history.”
Khan also visited a museum in central Anatolia dedicated to Mevlana Rumi, the famed 13th-century Muslim poet. Rumi was a spiritual leader of the Muslim ummah and his philosophy and sayings are well respected all around the world. He was the spiritual teacher of the famous Pakistani poet and philosopher Sir Allam Muhammad Iqbal, who was a well-respected leader of Muslims in South and Central Asia.
Khan also met with leaders of the business communities of both countries and encouraged them to work to develop bilateral economic ties, and offered to help facilitate this.
When Erdogan received Khan at the presidential palace on Friday, a joint communique was issued:
• Having exchanged views on the entire spectrum of Turkey – Pakistan bilateral “heart-to-heart” relationship as well as on issues of regional and international importance, the leaders of the two countries:
• Re-affirmed that the unparalleled fraternal relations between the peoples and the governments of the two countries date back centuries and are embedded in a common cultural and religious heritage, as well as a shared vision for the future, based on complete mutual understanding and trust;
• Noted with great satisfaction that the relationship between the two brotherly countries has over the years transformed into a strong strategic partnership in all areas of mutual interest, that has withstood the tests of time;
• Reiterated their determination to continue extending strong mutual support to one another on all issues of core national interest;
• Expressed their commitment to further enhance their bilateral relations in every field to the benefit of their peoples;
• Reiterated the importance of the Turkey-Pakistan High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council mechanism that also includes several working groups in further strengthening bilateral relations;
• Noted with satisfaction their ever-expanding defense and defense industry cooperation;
• Expressed their resolve to further strengthen the existing economic, trade and commercial relations between the two countries;
• Agreed to initiate mechanisms for collaboration in the health and agriculture sectors;
• Decided to further enhance people-to-people contacts through increased exchanges and cooperation in education, culture, tourism and youth fields;
• Underlined their abiding commitment to fighting the menace of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations;
• Reiterated their resolve to fight against the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization;
• Expressed satisfaction at the ongoing cooperation between the two countries at the multilateral forums, including at the United Nations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation; Economic Cooperation Organization; Developing 8 Countries, as well as other relevant forums;
• Reaffirmed their commitment for achieving and sustaining peace, security and stability in their respective regions as well as internationally;
• Underscored the need for resolution of the issue of Jammu and Kashmir through a sustained dialogue process and in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions;
• Recognized the Turkish support for Pakistan’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) based on non-discriminatory criteria, and reaffirmed that Pakistan’s adherence to the NSG Guidelines and participation in the NSG would strengthen the global non-proliferation objectives;
• Acknowledged that sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan could be achieved through reconciliation of all segments of Afghan society with the support of regional countries and the international community;
• Reiterated their full and resolute support to the efforts for the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue on the basis of the political equality of the two communities on the island, with a view to building peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean;
• Emphasized the centrality of the cause of Palestine, rejected any attempt to alter the legal status and historical character of Al Quds; called on the international community to increase their support to the Palestinian people in realizing their quest for the establishment of an independent, sovereign and contiguous State of Palestine on the basis of the borders of 1967 with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital;
• Agreed to increase collaboration to uphold the true values of Islam at the international forums as well as to work closely against any attempts to malign, distort or vilify the historical image of Islam, its revered personalities, and its fundamental beliefs;
• Expressed their strong resolve to further increase the frequency of bilateral contacts at the highest level;
• Reiterated their determination to continue taking steps in all areas of mutual interest for mutual peace and prosperity, especially by transforming the historic Turkey-Pakistan relationship into an increasingly stronger trade, investment and economic relationship for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries; and
• Agreed to convene the 6th Session of the Turkey-Pakistan High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council in Pakistan at mutually convenient dates for further discussion on these areas.
The visit was described as very successful and marked the beginning of a new era. It is expected that bilateral relations in trade and defense will develop rapidly. Diplomatic harmony and people-to-people contact will improve exponentially. Both countries enjoy harmony on regional and global issues, especially on Afghanistan, Kashmir and the Middle East.
In fact, emerging geopolitical scenarios and economic crises have brought the two countries even closer to each other. It is expected, that close cooperation between the two nations will be fruitful and ensure “peace, stability and development,” not only for Pakistan and Turkey but also for the region and the world.
Erdogan will visit Pakistan in the very near future. Officials are working on finalizing the dates and other formalities.