ISLAMABAD: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu arrived in the capital on Monday on a two-day official visit for talks with Pakistani authorities on bilateral ties, as well as the regional security situation.
However, the focus of his visit will be on Turkey’s efforts to seek the closure of educational institutions and other business concerns run by US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in Pakistan.
Ankara claims that Gulen, who is living in self-imposed exile in the United States, was the alleged mastermind of the recent failed military coup plot in Turkey.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the cleric’s followers for the rebellion and demanded his extradition, though Gulen has denied involvement and Washington has asked for evidence.
When asked about the Turkish demand for action against Gulen-run institutions, Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakria had said Islamabad was in contact with Ankara on the issue.
“Pakistan has very close and brotherly ties with Turkey. We are aware of the Turkish concerns. Authorities in both the countries are in touch with each other to address Turkish concerns while also remaining cognisant of the importance of avoiding disruption in the academic activities of a sizeable number of students,” Zakria added.
“In essence, in keeping with the cordial relations between the two countries, we are maintaining a close contact with Turkey to address the issue in a manner that fully addresses Turkey’s concerns as also of the students,” he further said.
The state-run Radio Pakistan said the two sides were expected to discuss ways and means to further strengthen cooperation in different fields.
The Turkish foreign minister and Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz will address a joint news conference on Tuesday after holding formal talks. The Turkish foreign policy wizard is also expected to call on the prime minister.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2016.