ISLAMABAD: Turkey on Tuesday said that it respects Pakistan’s decision on the Nato supply routes and endorses its demand for an apology from the United States over the killing of its troops at the Salala checkpost.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, jointly addressing a press conference with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, inked nine agreements for cooperation in diverse fields and said that the opening of the Nato supply route was the discretion of Pakistan.
“However, as a member of the Nato, Turkey believes that such issues should be resolved through mutual dialogue,” he said.
Erdogan, in efforts to mend ties between Pakistan’s ruling government and the opposition, decided to hold a meeting with Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday. “I will try to understand his perspective on the matter at hand.”
Reminiscing the ‘solidarity and cooperation’ which the government and the opposition had when he last visited the country four years back, Erdogan said that he wished to see the same cooperation back at home. “I never enjoyed such cooperation in Turkey.”
“If I say this ceiling is white, our opposition would say it is black. But the opposition should always be constructive to serve the common benefits of the people.”
Asked whether he was willing to play the role of a mediator between the government and opposition, Erdogan said he believed that the government and opposition need to stand united to serve the country.
He added that if the government and the opposition keep fighting among themselves, then the people of the country will suffer profoundly. “We should put the people first. The state is secondary. The purpose of the state is only to serve the people, and not anything else.”
If the parties in Pakistan demonstrate shoulder-to-shoulder politics, then Pakistan will be able to take its deserving place in the world, Erdogan hoped.
Withdrawal from Afghanistan
On Nato’s presence in Afghanistan, Erdogan said that even though Nato has decided to withdraw troops from the country by the end of 2014, the act might be delayed. “But I can only tell you my country’s perspective. We will withdraw troops from Afghanistan only after all other troops have been withdrawn.”
Expressing his support for Afghanistan, Erdogan said, “We won’t leave our brothers alone unless they want us to.”
He added that France has also announced withdrawing troops, but it said that if we entered the agreement together, we should terminate it together too.
Gilani said that an Afghan-owned, Afghan-led reconciliation will be supported by Pakistan. “The world should understand Pakistan’s sacrifices.”