Ankara's ambassador to Pakistan yesterday hailed the strong relations between the two countries, ahead of Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu's visit to Islamabad.
"Pakistan and Turkey already enjoy exemplary and historic relations based on heritage, culture, religion and there are very strong bonds," Ambassador Mustafa Yurdakul said.
Çavuşoğlu was expected to arrive in the Pakistani capital yesterday for a two-day visit.
During his visit, the Turkish foreign minister will meet his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi, President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan.
This is the first visit by a top Turkish official to the country following the formation of the new government. Yurdakul added that the Turkish government's aid campaigns and the joint defense projects with Pakistan bear witness to the strength of bilateral ties.
In February, Turkey opposed a move by the U.S. and U.K. in a Paris meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to place Pakistan on a list of countries which have failed to stem terror financing. Last month, Pakistan stood beside Turkey to oppose the "unilateral sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Ankara over the detention of an American pastor over terrorism charges."
Pakistani students in Turkey
The number of Pakistani graduates from Turkish universities is set to increase in the coming years.
"The numbers of Pakistani students are increasing in Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which show both countries have very close people to people contact and we wish to strengthen it even more through education programs," the ambassador said.
The Turkish government has opened an office of the Maarif Foundation in Islamabad for the smooth takeover of schools linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in the country.
"We are working closely with the Pakistani authorities in order to transfer these FETÖ schools to Turkey," Yurdakul said. Pakistani authorities say some locals have filed cases against the handover in courts and the government is waiting for the verdict. Turkey established the Maarif Foundation in 2016 to take over the administration of overseas schools linked to FETÖ. FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, which left 250 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured. Ankara also accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, including the military, police, judiciary and schools.
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