| GEO Pakistan|
| Pakistan, Turkey resolve against terrorism|
| Updated at: 1758 PST, Sunday, October 25, 2009|
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Turkey on Sunday vowed to jointly combat the “menace” of terrorism and have an “intensified cooperation” on political, diplomatic, security and military fields.
Addressing a joint press conference after an exclusive and delegation level talks here at the PM House, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they had an “excellent” interaction.
“Our discussions were marked by unanimity of views on all issues of mutual interests and concerns,” Gilani said.
“The two countries have also decided to comprehensively upgrade our strategic partnership and intensify political and economic cooperation,” he told the Pakistani and the Turkish media.
The Turkish prime minister is on a two-day official visit to Pakistan aimed at further strengthening relationship between the two countries.
Pakistan and Turkey also signed a Joint Declaration reiterating resolve to bolster relations in areas of economy, trade, investment, agriculture, industry, culture, education, defence and people-to-people contacts.
The prime minister announced setting up of a “High level cooperation council”, to be co-chaired by the two prime ministers “to oversee and steer the unique partnership to even greater heights” between the two countries.
The council to meet at least once a year will also invite ministers of energy, trade, investments and security to participate in the deliberations.
The Turkish prime minister noted that Pakistan was “passing through a rough patch” and hope it will be able to overcome its problems, while assuring Turkey’s full cooperation in all areas.
Responding to a question about infiltrations from the Afghan side and Turkey’s role, being a member of NATO, the Turkish prime minister said his country will assume the command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan on November 1.
Prime Minister Erdogan termed it a “disturbing issue” and said Turkey will be in a better position. He said he will personally talk to the Secretary General of NATO and try to address these concerns.
He said in the talks the two sides also discussed joint ventures in military, besides expressing a commitment to create a platform to jointly combat terrorism.
“It is the biggest mistake to kill a person on the name of religion,” Erdogan said and pointed that terrorism recognizes no boundaries or religions. Urging flexibility and tolerance he said “No matter what ideology one has, he should try to come up to some middle ground.”
Under the “intensified cooperation” the two countries will take measures to “broaden an deepen” security cooperation and greater interaction between their intelligence agencies against terrorism, illicit arms trafficking, and such organizations.
The two countries also decided to re-energize trade relations by greater involvement of their private sectors.
“We have agreed to launch a Chief Executive Officers Forum,” Gilani said and announced that from now on the forum will be held on the sidelines of leadership level visits.
“We are confident that the Forum will help unleash potential of private sector entrepreneurship,” he added.
The CEO forum aims at enhancing cooperation in road and rail transportation, initiating negotiations on a maritime agreement, encouraging private sectors for investment initiatives, strengthening links between the banks and partnerships on energy sectors.
Prime Minister Erdogan who is also heading a 80 member delegation of Turkish Chief Executive Officers to enable them interact with the Pakistani counterparts, said the trade volume between the two countries was very insignificant at only 741 million dollars.
He said there were many commodities the two can exchange besides cooperating in the construction sector, infrastructure development, housing, agriculture and several other areas.
“We have put forward an objective to raise it to US 2 billion dollars a year, but this too is not significant,” he said and added that the establishment of the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) will provide services to boost trade.
Gilani when asked about relations with Afghanistan said Pakistan wants good brotherly relations and appreciated the role of Turkey to facilitate relations through the tripartite arrangement.
To a question by the Turkish media about future of democracy in Pakistan said “there is no threat to democracy” and added that all state institutions including the parliament, the judiciary and the media were working in the right direction.
He said in his discussions on Afghanistan the two countries focused on peace and stability as well as further coordinated efforts to promote trans-regional cooperation and joint projects.
He said Pakistan was appreciative of Turkey’s constructive role in Afghanistan.
“We look forward to our continued engagement for ensuring prosperity and development in the region.”
The Prime Minister said Pakistan greatly values its strategic partnership with Turkey which is rooted in shared interests, common concerns and perceptions on regional and global issues.