Turkey is grateful for Pakistan's support in fight against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) following last year's defeated coup, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on yesterday.
"Both the Pakistani and our government are in solidarity in the fight against FETÖ," Bozdağ told a visiting Pakistani press delegation and the Pakistani ambassador to Turkey, Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi, in Ankara.
"FETÖ schools in Pakistan were transferred to the Turkish Maarif Foundation within the framework of a reconciliation between the two countries," he said. "This is quite an important development. So, I thank [Pakistan] so much."
The Maarif Foundation is the only institution authorized to open schools abroad on behalf of the Turkish state.
FETÖ, led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gülen, orchestrated the foiled coup of July 15, 2016, which killed 249 peopleand injured nearly 2,200.
"Pakistan stood by Turkey [after the defeated coup]. It stood by our government, Parliament and the president. We are also thankful to the people of the state of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and their administrators," he said.
Noting that both Pakistan and Turkey had both experienced numerous coups in the past and paid a price on the path to democracy, Bozdag said the two countries had not given up on their efforts for democracy. "This is the greatest factor, which strengthens our countries," he added.
The two countries could further increase trade, cooperation between universities and could have cooperation in economy, Bozdağ said.
"I believe relations between the two countries will further strengthen in the coming years, but the people [in both countries] should get to know each other better," he added.
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday said Ankara "will not forget the support" from Serbian President Alexander Vucic on the fight against FETÖ. "The cooperation against terrorist groups will provide peace. I will not forget the support of my dear friend on the issue," Erdoğan said. For his part, Vucic said that Serbia has "certainly nothing to do" with FETÖ.