ISLAMABAD – The bond of brotherhood between Turkey and Pakistan is not limited to mere words, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, but the brotherly relation between two Islamic nations is real.
The Turkish president is addressing a joint session of Parliament in Islamabad, a day after he arrived in the country on a two-day visit.
Before the Turkish President took to the rostrum to deliver his address, he was accorded a warm welcome by all members of the parliament including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, as the noise of desks being thumped filled the hall.
“I bring to you the love and well-wishes of the people of Turkey,” Erdogan said, in the opening line of his address. “For me to address your parliament is a matter of honour,” he said.
Erdogan, who was given a warm welcome at Noor Khan Air Base on Wednesday, met his Pakistani counterpart the same day.
This is the third time President Erdogan has addressed Pakistani parliament. Earlier, he had addressed the session in October 2009 and May 2012 during Zardari government.
He will be heading to provincial capital Lahore shortly after the parliament’s address where Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif would host a dinner in his honor.
In his address, Erdogan reminded the parliament how the Turkish government had declared a day of mourning when the Army Public School massacre had taken place in Peshawar in 2014.
He also berated Fatehullah Gulen for its alleged involvement in a coup bid in July this year, and lauded efforts of Pakistan for its role in combating the Gulen inspired movement.
Erdogan said Turkey will never forget the services of Pakistan.
He further expressed his gratitude, saying Pakistan stood by Turkey through thick and thin and stressed the need of making the bilateral relations between the two countries exemplary.
Earlier in the day, Erdogan while addressing a joint press conference alongside Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced the Turkish government is determinedly taking on what he termed the Fethullah Terror Organisation (Feto).
Erdogran said “we are in the process of warning all of our friends and countries across the globe with whom we have solidarity” against Feto. Turkey labels Feto a terrorist organization headed by US-based self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, who President Erdogan accuses of instigating a botched coup to remove him from office earlier this year.
Pakistan had earlier promised Turkey it would look into the affairs of the Pak-Turk education network that Ankara wanted shut down for its alleged links with Gulen.
“It is now certain that behind the [July 15] coup attempt we have the Gulenist terrorist organisation and its leader residing in Pennsylvania,” Erdogan alleged.
“It is necessary to dismantle this evil network… The terrorist organisation is a threat to the security and public order of Pakistan,” he claimed.
The Turkish president claimed Feto “has been hiding behind the facade of acceptable concepts and terms such as delivering service, education and dialogue… But we saw on July 15 that they would not refrain from any methods, including bloodshed to gain their purposes.”
In his address to the joint session, while taking on the terrorist elements sponsoring chaos in the region, the president said the sole purpose of their nefarious designs is to harm Muslims and bring a bad name to religion Islam.
He also deplored the Indian oppression in occupied Kashmir. “I condemn the atrocities being committed in Kashmir and would like to see the resolution of the issue as per the will of the Kashmiris,” he said, to thunderous applause. Erdogan said that Turkey was well aware of the difficulties that the people of Kashmir were facing.
“The terror group, ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), has no link whatsoever with Islam,” Erdogan said, adding that the West was supporting ISIS and al-Qaeda.
He further said that Pakistan was still struggling against the menace of terrorism and praised the efforts of Pakistan Army in battling militancy. Turkey would continue its fight against terrorism, he stated.
Erdogan said his country wants strong ties between Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan. He stressed the Muslim world to move forward in the light of Islamic teachings by resisting against any injustices.
“Pakistan has been an example for the whole Muslim community (Ummah),” Tayyip Erdogan told the Parliament.
Lauding the democratic process in Pakistan which has been strengthened in recent years, the Turkish leader called for joint efforts against unemployment, militancy and illiteracy.
He vowed to extend the volume of Pak-Turk bilateral trade to one billion US dollars.
In his concluding remarks, Erdogan assured Pakistan of Turkey’s support in education sector. He said Turkey would ink agreements for undergraduate and graduate students.
“Long Live Pakistan, Long live Pak-Turk relations,” Erdogan said at the end of his address.