FTA with Turkey by next year: Prime Minister

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Thursday said that Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Turkey would be finalised by 2017 and it would further enhance bilateral trade between the two countries.

Addressing a joint press conference along with visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a one-on-one and a delegation-level meetings, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that fraternal relations between Pakistan and Turkey are unique.

“President Erdogan and I have a wide-range of discussions and agreed to transform bilateral relations into strategic partnership,” he said. “We have decided to conclude bilateral Free Trade Agreement by 2017,” he added. “We have also agreed to increase trade, investment and commercial cooperation as Pakistan and Turkey are indispensable partners and would work together for peace, security and development in the region and beyond,” he added.

The Prime Minister stated that the resolve of people of Turkey against illegal assault to democracy is remarkable and Pakistani nation is unanimous in expressing support and solidarity for the Turkey’s elected government and democratic institutions. He said the people of Turkey wrote a new chapter in the annals of history and democracy.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said bilateral relationship of the two countries has been growing fast during the last few years and the two sides have been able to conclude various agreements and memoranda of understanding. He said that relations between Pakistan and Turkey are improving in healthcare, defence, energy and other fields.

About the Kashmir issue, he said the issue needs to be resolved through dialogue keeping in view the aspirations of the people of Kashmiri and in accordance with the UN resolutions.

“We are very concerned and keep a close eye on the tense situation at Line of Control (LoC).” He added that the OIC will continue extending its support to Pakistan on the issue.

He said Pakistan and Afghanistan are two brother countries and expressed hope that the cooperation between the two countries would improve. Erdogan said trilateral mechanism among Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan has been very useful and it has yielded positive results in strengthening relations.

Referring to failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, he appreciated the people of Pakistan for demonstrating their support for democracy in Turkey.

-Business Recorder