ISLAMABAD: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in the Parliament House in Islamabad on Thursday, becoming the first foreign dignitary to address Pakistan’s parliament for the third time.
The Turkish leader landed in Islamabad on Wednesday, embarking on a two-day visit — his first to Pakistan since an attempted military coup failed to dislodge him from power earlier this year. Shortly after arrival, he met his Pakistani counterpart Mamnoon Hussain, who hosted a dinner for the Turkish leader.
National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq while chairing the joint session of the parliament, welcomed President Erdogan. Chiefs of armed forces along with chief minister Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Sindh are also present.
“We hope that with the support of the Turkish president, millions of Kashmiris Indian-held Kashmir will get the right to self determination,” Sadiq said.
Addressing the session, Erdogan said, “Relations between Pakistan and Turkey are far greater than just diplomatic relations.”
“Pakistan’s democracy is a model for the rest of the world,” he said, adding that Pakistan and Turkey have made bilateral ties stronger in every field over the past few years.
“Turkey mourned for an entire day over the attack at Army Public School in Peshawar,” Erdogan said while adding that Pakistan and Turkey bond over matters of joy and sorrow.
Further stating that Pak-Turk ties should move forward in political, military as well as economic terms, Erdogan announced that the current level of trade between Pakistan and Turkey will be taken to Rs1billion.
“Scholarships from Turkey help students from Pakistan complete their studies,” he said adding that “Following a document signed between Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission and the Turkish higher education body, 500 Pakistani students will be able to go to Turkey for PhD scholarships every year.”
He reiterated that Feto is a threat to Pakistan’s security, however, Turkey will not let the terrorist organisation harm Pakistan. “Gulen’s outfit will be eliminated before it can cause any sort of harm to Pakistan,” he said.
Islam and terrorism cannot be linked together
Sharing his views on terrorism across the globe, the Turkish president said, “God has stated in the Holy Quran that He is closer to us than our jugular vein and there can be no higher power.
“Al Qaeda is serving as a puppet and as a tout to foment terrorism in Muslim countries, there is a war going on in Iraq and Syria. These terrorists are destroying Islam and are tarnishing its name…they do not belong to this religion,” he said.
“Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria are all affected by these terrorists. I have complete faith that Muslims cannot be destroyed by these tactics, hence the terrorists must be thrown out of the respective countries.” He reiterated that Islam and terrorism cannot be linked together.
Erdogan is addressing a joint session of parliament for a third time having done so earlier in October 2009 and May 2012.
Addressing a joint press conference with PM Nawaz in Islamabad earlier today, Erdogan claimed that the Fethullah Terror Organisation (Feto) is a threat to Pakistan’s security.
He stated that Turkey is in the process of warning all its allies against Feto, the alleged terrorist organisation led by the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen who Erdogan has claimed was responsible for the failed coup attempt.
“Gulen’s terrorist organisation is a threat to the peace and security in Pakistan,” he said, while thanking Pakistan’s government for taking action against the concerned organisation.
Addressing the joint press conference with Erdogan, PM Nawaz said, “The fraternal ties between Pakistan and Turkey are unique and unparalleled.”
After addressing the parliament, the Turkish president left the capital city and arrived in Lahore amid tight security. Mall Road was completely cordoned off as Erdogan’s convoy passed through it.
Tehreek-e-Insaf firm on boycotting parliament
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Tuesday decided to take a rigid stance and not attend the joint session of Parliament. Speaking to the media outside his Bani Gala residence, PTI chief Imran Khan said that his party would not attend the joint session taking place under a ‘controversial prime minister’ who was facing corruption charges.
“We welcome the Turkish president to Pakistan but at the same time we do not want to endorse a PM who has broken the country’s law and was engaged in corruption,” he said.