The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organized a Public Talk on November 27, 2017 to commemorate 70 years of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Turkey. The speakers on the occasion included Dr. Mesut Ozcan, Acting Chairman, Center for Strategic Research, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Turkey, Ankara, and Mr. Ufuk Ulutas, Researcher and Columnist, Turkey. The Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in Islamabad, H.E. Sadik Babur Girgin was also present at the occasion.
Welcoming the guests, Chairman ISSI Ambassador Khalid Mahmood said that the relationship between Pakistan and Turkey predates establishment of Pakistan. People in the Subcontinent always felt close affiliation with Turkey and the Ottoman empire. Even today, there are no two opinions in Pakistan that Turkey is a close brotherly country with which we have a deep relationship and special affinity. Turkey and Pakistan have been partners in the Baghdad Pact, Economic Cooperation Organization and many other similar organizations. The relationship between the two countries is also special because Turkey has always been a staunch supporter of the Kashmir cause. Likewise, Pakistan has always supported Turkey on its position on the issue of Cyprus. Ambassador Khalid Mahmood also pointed out that despite all these positive trends in the bilateral relations between the two countries, the relationship in the economic field lags behind. The trade volume between the two countries is merely 600 million. Some efforts are being made to address this issue and it is hoped that these efforts would give a new impetus to bilateral economic relations. He also expressed his optimism that under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), there would be new opportunities for Turkish investments in Pakistan.