Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Thursday said that terror groups like Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al Qaeda have no links whatsoever with Islam as it is the West which is supporting the terror outfits.
Addressing the joint sitting of the Parliament for the record third time, President Erdogan said terrorist elements are creating chaos in the region, adding the sole purpose of their nefarious designs is to harm Muslims and bring a bad name to Islam.
“Al Qaeda is serving as a puppet and a tout to foment terrorism in Muslim countries. A war is going on in Iraq and Syria. These terrorists are destroying Islam and tarnishing its image…they do not belong to this religion [Islam],” he said.
Sharing his views on terrorism across the globe, Erdogan said: “God has stated in the Holy Quran that He is closer to us than our jugular vein and there can be no higher power except Allah.”
“Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria are all affected by these terrorists. I have complete faith that Muslims cannot be destroyed by these tactics, hence the terrorists must be thrown out of the respective countries,” he added.
He reiterated that Islam and terrorism cannot be interlinked, saying the West is providing weapons to terrorist organisations, but it will not succeed in its nefarious motives to harm the Muslim world.
About Pak-Afghan relations, he said that both the countries should have closer ties with each other, adding that efforts are being made to harm relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Erdogan said that Pakistan is still struggling against the menace of terrorism.
He praised the efforts of Pakistan Army in battling militancy. He said Turkey would continue its fight against terrorism.
He stressed upon the Muslim world to move forward in the light of Islamic teachings by resisting any injustice. “Pakistan has been an example for the whole Muslim world,” he added. President Erdogan also deplored the Indian oppression in Occupied Kashmir in the strongest possible terms.
“I strongly condemn the atrocities being committed in Indian Held Kashmir and would like to see the resolution of the issue in accordance with the will of the Kashmiris,” he said.
Erdogan said that Turkey is well aware of the difficulties that the people of Kashmir are facing, adding, “We are ready to play whatever role we can in resolving the issue of Kashmir.”
Lauding the democratic process in Pakistan which has been strengthened in recent years, he called for joint efforts against unemployment, militancy and illiteracy. He vowed to extend the volume of Pakistan-Turkey 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, adding Turkey will give 500 PhD scholarships to Pakistani students in Turkish universities.
He also said that the bond of brotherhood between Turkey and Pakistan is not limited to mere words, as the brotherly relations between two Islamic nations are real. In his address, Erdogan reminded the Parliament how the Turkish government had declared a day of mourning after the Army Public School Peshawar massacre in 2014.
He also appreciated the Pakistani Parliament for passing resolutions in his support in the wake of failed military coup in Turkey. “Pakistan was the country which condemned the failed military adventurism for which we’re grateful,” he added.
He also berated Fatehullah Gulen for his alleged involvement in the 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, adding Pakistan stood by Turkey through thick and thin and stressed the need for making the bilateral relations between the two countries exemplary. After addressing the Parliament, Erdogan met with parliamentary leaders of all political parties. He shook hand with leaders of different political parties.
Earlier, before the Turkish President took to the rostrum to deliver his address, all members of the Parliament, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, accorded him a warm welcome by thumping desks. “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.
The ambassadors of foreign countries, three chief ministers except Pervez Khattak of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, three provincial governors except Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui of Sindh, were also present on the occasion. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, and Chief of Air Staff Air were also present.
The lawmakers belonging to major opposition political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), boycotted the joint sitting, as the party had announced to boycott the joint session taking place under a “controversial prime minister.”