English Speaking Union of Pakistan (ESUP) hosted the Ambassador of Turkey in Pakistan HE Ihsan Mustafa Yurdakul with a view to listen to his valuable assessment about the relationship between the two countries. It was the first hybrid event organised by the ESUP in wake of COVID-19 in which some guests were welcomed at a hotel while others, including the guest speaker, joined in via Zoom from Islamabad. The ambassador shared his views on the foreign policy of Turkey and Turkey-Pakistan bilateral relations.
In his welcoming speech Mr. Aziz Memon, President of ESUP, reiterated that ESUP continuously endeavors to invite on its platform prominent personalities who have a presence on national and international arenas. He added that ESUP provides a portal to its honourable members to inquire from such figures the aspects they are working for.
Mr. Aziz Memon described that Ambassador Yardakul is from the new generation of diplomats that has come to fore in the diplomatic circles. A qualified expert of international relations the ambassador joined the Turkish Foreign Service in 1994 and has risen through the ranks to become ambassador of Turkey in Pakistan. Mr. Memon mentioned that the honourable ambassador has significant exposure to the notions and contours of international diplomacy and it is fortunate for the strong relationship between Turkey and Pakistan that he is placed in this crucial assignment.
The ambassador began by stating that the year 2020 was difficult but it was the strength and resilience of his country and its people, politically, economically and region-wise, which helped them get past the difficulties. He said that since Turkey cannot isolate itself from what happens around it, it has been also lending a helping hand to other countries in the form of humanitarian aid.
He also said that in order to combat racism, terrorism and xenophobia, there is a need for strengthening global institutions.
The ambassador pointed out that Turkish foreign policy is based on respect for international law, helping ease regional conflicts, extending cooperation with other countries and taking up of positive initiatives and partnering with key countries for the welfare of countries such as Somalia or Afghanistan adding that Turkey makes its contributions relevant in the European Union as a strategic partner.
Coming to bilateral relations between Turkey and Pakistan, Ambassador Yurdakul said that it is more like a bond than a relationship. He said that for friendships and relationships, you have a distance over which you can relate but here we have a unique bond of which the most effective happens to be our people-to-people relations. He said that we have $900 million worth of trade annually and we still have more room to increase as our investors and entrepreneurs want to do more business with Pakistan. There is potential for investment of over a billion in Pakistan between the next 20 to 25 years in things such as hygiene products, construction material, etc.
He added that culture and tourism is like fertiliser for Pak-Turkish bond and Turkish television dramas are a huge success in Pakistan. Their ratings here are much higher than in Turkey and an example of this is the serial Ertugrul. He emphasised that both countries share Muslim history that brings them together. He also said that there was a need for easing of rules and regulations to encourage more trade and businesses between both countries. He stated that both countries have no political issues and they support each other in international forums such as the United Nations. TW