Nov 1 - 7, 20

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani has deeply appreciated his Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Erdogan's exceptional gesture of solidarity with Pakistan by first sending Madam Erdogan to Pakistan to express the solidarity with the flood victims and then visiting Pakistan to his country's support with them in these difficult times. Pakistan will never forget Turkish support, he said.

At a breakfast meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister at the P M House at Islamabad on Wednesday last, Prime Minister Gillani conveyed the profound gratitude of his government to Prime Minister Erdogan over the generous and substantial funds worth US$200 out of which around 126 millions were donated by the Turkish business community and general public into his fund for Pakistan's flood affectees.

He said that the government and the people of Pakistan were thankful that the Turkish Prime Minister and Madam Erdogan and senior government officers and political leaders had taken upon themselves to organise fund raising. He also commended that Turkey was the first country which had started building pre-fabricated home village for the affectees first in Nowshera and now 2000 such homes for affected people in Muzaffargrah.

The Prime Minister noted with profound sense of gratitude that Madam Erdgan, soon after visit to Pakistan, not only mobilised the international community by writing personal letters to the spouses of the other heads of the states and governments but also donating her personal jewelry for the flood relief affectees. He said that his government and people would never forget this great gesture of love and affection for the people of Pakistan. He recalled that Turkey had similarly stood by Pakistan in rehabilitation and reconstruction of quake affected areas in 2005.

While dilating on the formal cordial ties between the two countries rooted in century's old bond of history, culture, and religion, the Prime Minister said that his government was determined to build upon the existing excellent relations with Turkey and take them to unprecedented level. He said that both countries should strive through concerted efforts to raise the level of present volume of trade to two billion dollars by 2012 as had already been agreed. He emphasised that the Turkish government should encourage its private sector to be even more closely with their Pakistani counterparts in key sectors like construction, infrastructure, engineering, energy, agriculture, telecommunications, mining, and textile etc. He also underlined the need of opening of Turkish banks branches to facilitate strengthening of present trade and investment ties. The Prime Minister emphasised the importance of upgrading the rail and road links between the two countries and running of fast speed cargo trains between Islamabad and Istanbul on regular basis.

Prime Minister Erdogan expressed his and people of Turkey's sincere commiserations and sympathies on the worst in the history of Pakistan. He termed the happiness of Pakistani people as the happiness of Turks and their sorrow as the sorrow of the Turks.

While discussing the measures for further strengthening of time-tested and exceptionally fraternal ties between the two countries, Prime Minister Erdogan invited his Pakistani counterpart to visit Ankara next month to participate in the Second High Level Cooperation Council Meeting with him to steer their unique partnership for expanded cooperation in different fields.

Prime Minister Gillani has rightly applauded Turkey's exceptional gesture of solidarity with Pakistan during recent calamity of devastating floods. Turkey was one of the first country which immediately dispatched relief supplies for the marooned people. Though many countries supported Pakistan during the recent natural calamity, the feeling and deep concern shown by the people and leadership of Turkey were exceptional and unique and speak volumes about their love for Pakistani brethren. It was revealing for the people of Pakistan that Madam Erdogan soon after her visit not only mobilised the international community by writing personal letters to the spouses of other world leaders but also donated her personal jewelry towards relief efforts. During the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, the Turkish government and more importantly the people of Turkey offered considerable help and support to Pakistan. It is a fact that the people of both countries have brotherly relations which date back to centuries. The deep ties between the two countries should be maintained and further promoted for the betterment of Pakistan.