ANKARA – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan and Turkey have shared concern over attempts to link Islam and terrorism and pledged to intensify their joint endeavours to combat growing Islamophobia. Nawaz Sharif said he was certain that Turkey and its leadership would defeat all threats to their security and moves to undermine the economic or designs to change perception. The statement came during a fifth meeting of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council of the two countries in Ankara on Thursday. It was co-chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim. Both high-ups also held a joint media briefing after the meeting. He said that terrorism was a common enemy. Recently, in Pakistan, terrorist targeted Shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, which is a symbol of progressive thought, peace and love, he added. He also reaffirmed Pakistan’s abiding solidarity with Turkey, adding that Turkey’s enemies are Pakistan’s enemies. He particularly condemned the heinous coup attempt in Turkey in July last year and lauded Turkish people for their defence of democracy. PM Nawaz Sharif said that the two sides agreed to increase cooperation in various fields including political, economic, defence, investment, energy, development, security, communication, education, culture and tourism. He hoped that agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs) signed by both countries would take the relationship to new heights. He highlighted that the Turkish private sector would take benefit of huge opportunities in Pakistan, especially its geographical position and focus on regional connectivity, infrastructure development, industry and transport sectors, the Radio Pakistan reported. As Pakistan and Turkey celebrate 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations this year, they would further enhance their people to people exchanges. He was confident that strengthened bilateral ties based on common bonds of faith, history and culture and inspired by shared commitment to democracy, peace and development would continue to grow from strength to strength.

The PM pointed out that Pakistan and Turkey were two pivotal states located in strategic regions facing multiple threats and challenges. He also conveyed Pakistan’s deep gratitude to Turkey for supporting the country on Kashmir dispute.