Turkey and Pakistan on Wednesday pledged to strengthen cooperation with a “strategic perspective” on both bilateral and international levels.
“We are ready to further strengthen Turkey-Pakistan relations with a strategic perspective in line with the history, friendship and potential of the two countries,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a joint press conference in Ankara with visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the two countries last year increased the bilateral trade volume to over 1 billion U.S. dollars for the first time since 2011, Erdogan said, adding that their target is 5 billion dollars.
“We are working to improve our cooperation in service sectors such as tourism, education, logistics, civil aviation, communications, and information technologies,” he said.
Erdogan said he is glad to see concrete projects in defence cooperation, noting that their joint production of corvettes under the MILGEM project “sets an important example in this sense.”
He said Turkey will start delivering four ships at six-month intervals starting from August 2023. MILGEM is a Turkish warship program that develops multipurpose corvettes and frigates.
Sharif, for his part, said Turkey and Pakistan are “embedded deep into history and shaped by shared goals.” Pakistan is willing to learn from Turkey’s experience in the fields of e-commerce, education and infrastructure, he added.
This is Sharif’s first official visit to Turkey since assuming office in April.