THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, ISLAMABAD, 14th SEPTEMBER 2013:
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will undertake a three-day official visit to Turkey at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart.
According to the itinerary provided by the prime minister’s office, Nawaz will meet Turkish president Abdullah Gul as well as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Edrogan. The two premiers will also co-chair the third meeting of the High Level Cooperation Council (HLCC) in Ankara.
The HLCC provides a unique platform to give a long-term strategic direction to bilateral relations between the two countries.
An official from the press section of the Pakistan embassy in Ankara said that the PM will also be honoured with an award.
“In recognition of close and brotherly relations between Pakistan and Turkey, the Turkish president will confer the award of ‘Republic Order’ (Cumhuriyet Nişan) to Nawaz Sharif at a special investiture ceremony,” the official said.
In order to further enhance economic relations, the two countries are likely to sign agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs).
According to sources, eight significant agreements to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries are likely to be signed during the visit.
The prime minister is also due to visit the site of an award-winning low-cost housing project in Ankara built for a less privileged section of society, an embassy official said.
According to details given by officials, PM Nawaz will address a large business forum in Istanbul on September 18, and will also have separate meetings with leading Turkish entrepreneurs and investors.
Leading businessmen from Pakistan are also expected to attend the forum, to explore mutually beneficial entrepreneurial opportunities.
“Prime Minister’s visit to Turkey is likely to result in substantial Turkish partnerships in the energy sector, low-cost housing, infrastructure development and municipal services such as mass transit,” said Pakistan’s envoy for Turkey Haroon Shaukat while talking to The Express Tribune.
Inspired by the success of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Edogan’s people friendly government, the Nawaz-led government is planning to launch many such projects with the Turkish government and its private sector.
Turkey is already assisting the Punjab government, in municipal and transport sectors. A few months ahead of May 11 general elections, the Punjab government had introduced its first world-class metro bus service in Lahore with technical and structural assistance from Turkey.
Currently, the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Turkey stands at over $1 billion, which is largely in Pakistan’s favour.
Construction is the leading sector for Turkish investors in Pakistan. Since the early 1990s, the total value of projects completed or undertaken by Turkish contractors in Pakistan has exceeded $1.8 billion.
In 2005, Turkey’s housing development administration assisted in the construction of 5,000 homes in earthquake-affected areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Turkish companies are becoming increasingly active in Pakistan’s energy sector as well and in 2009, Turkish firms built Pakistan’s first wind turbines.