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Tayyab Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a record third address to a joint session of parliament on Thursday lauded Pakistan’s commitment to upholding democracy.

Pakistan’s help was vital to Turkey’s fight for freedom, he said, adding that at the time of the July 15 coup attempt, Pakistan was the first country by Turkey’s side. “I extend my thanks to the Pakistani government for this.”

The Turkish president reiterated that Feto is a “bloodthirsty terrorist organisation and a threat to the region… Feto has a network in 120 countries, and Gulen is trying to establish the rule from Pennsylvania,” he alleged.

Feto will not be allowed to harm Pakistan, he said, thanking Pakistan for its solidarity in the fight against this terrorist organisation, he said.

He emphasised the need for Muslim countries to stand firm against terrorist groups.

“Terrorist organisations are hurting both Islam and Muslim countries… And everyone knows the West is helping them,” he alleged.

“We are here to bring good to the world and rid it of evil.”

He spoke of the need for progress in an ‘Islamic’ way and to fight against anyone “which is a threat to our future”.

He reiterated that Pakistan and Turkey are friendly nations and said both countries had strengthened bilateral ties in recent years.

“The Kashmir issue holds a special place in our hearts. We are familiar with the perils the Kashmiris face.”

Turkey will bring up the matter of Kashmir in the UN, he said, adding that it would collaborate with Pakistan on Kashmir.

“Yesterday evening, the president and today the PM met me and we discussed Pak-Turkey ties. I hope very soon we will take our relationship forward through the strategic council.”

“Our relationship should move forward in political, military and economic terms. Trade should also be expanded. We have come a long way in these past years, but this amount of progress is not enough.”

“Scholarships from Turkey are helping Pakistani students complete their Masters, PhD and undergraduate study.”

“500 Pakistani students will be able to go to Turkey for PhD scholarships every year in light of a document signed by Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission and the Turkish higher education body,” he said.

Erdogan is on a two-day official visit to Pakistan, during which he has held one-on-one meetings with President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf ‘leadership’ boycotted today’s session of parliament because it would take place under a ‘controversial’ prime minister who is facing charges of corruption.

“We welcome the Turkish president to Pakistan, but at the same time, we do not want to endorse a prime minister who has broken the country’s law and has engaged in corruption,” PTI Chairman Imran Khan said earlier.

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