Number 79 | October 26, 2009
After a two-day official visit by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to the country, Turkey and Pakistan signed a protocol to strengthen economic, political, educational, cultural, tourism and military relations. This was Prime Minister Erdogan’s third visit to Pakistan. The protocol was signed by Erdogan and Pakistani Prime Minister Raza Gilani and enhances cooperation between the two countries with the objective of promoting regional and international peace, stability, freedom and prosperity, according to the joint declaration.
On economic cooperation, the two prime ministers emphasized the importance of enhanced trade relations and agreed to hold meetings to finalize a Preferential Trade Agreement between the two countries and to undertake joint venture projects in Pakistan in the infrastructure, housing, tourism and energy sectors. Prime Minister Erdogan announced his goal to increase the bilateral trade volume between the two countries from 700 million USD to 2 billion USD. The protocol also outlines educational and cultural cooperation and the calls for the opening of cultural centers in both countries.
On security and military cooperation, the leaders underlined the need for taking measures to broaden cooperation between the security agencies to combat terrorism, and illicit arms trafficking. The protocol also calls for enhanced cooperation between the Turkish and Pakistani militaries, including in training and defense industry. Speaking to the press during his visit, Erdogan denounced terrorism and stated “Terrorism has no religion, nationality, race or homeland. No one should kill in the name of religion. I cannot understand how one can kill his Moslem brother or defenseless people in the name of religion,” and emphasized that Pakistan is going through a difficult period and needs support. Prime Minister Gilani emphasized that Pakistan would continue to fight against terrorism on its territory and that they were in full agreement with Erdogan on a joint fight against terrorism.
Turkey and Pakistan share a special historical relationship supported by strong positive public opinion in both countries. While still under British rule, Indian Muslims provided monetary support to the Turkish national resistance led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk against Allied occupation. Turkey’s successful campaign against foreign occupation and imperial designs has been credited to have provided an important inspiration to the independence movements in the Sub-continent that created the Indian and Pakistani nations.