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Nawaz Sharif to visit Turkey today

22 February, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is visiting Turkey from Feb 22 to 24 to attend the fifth session of the Pakistan-Turkey High Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC).

According to the prime minister’s spokesman, Mr Sharif will also meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and visit the Turkish parliament to reaffirm Pakistan’s unequivocal solidarity with the government and people of Turkey against the failed coup attempt in the country on July 15 last year. The Turkish parliament was bombed that night.

The prime minister will pay homage to those people who laid down their lives in defence of Turkish democracy.

He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising ministers and senior officials and have wide-ranging consultations with the Turkish leadership on bilateral, regional and international issues.

Together with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Mr Sharif will co-chair the HLSCC meeting, to be held in Ankara on Thursday.

The council was established in 2009 as a framework for consultations at the highest political level between Pakistan and Turkey. The mechanism provides strategic focus and direction to the bilateral relationship and helps chart a vision for the future.

Six joint working groups, operating under the umbrella of the HLSCC, focus on a broad range of areas — trade, energy, banking and finance, communications and railways, education and culture and tourism.

So far, four sessions of the HLSCC have been held — in Dec 2010, May 2012, Sept 2013 and Feb 2015. The last session was held in Islamabad. More than 50 agreements and memorandums of understanding have been signed between the two sides within the HLSCC framework.

This year also marks the 70th year of Pakistan-Turkey diplomatic relations. The two countries envisage special commemorative events throughout the year to celebrate this milestone in a befitting manner.

Prime Minister Sharif’s visit to Turkey and the convening of the fifth session of the HLSCC will further deepen the time-tested, unparalleled and historic ties between the two brotherly countries and impart a strong impetus to their flourishing cooperation in diverse fields, it is hoped.

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