ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will leave for Turkey today (Friday) to attend Turkish President Recep Tay-yip Erdogan’s inauguration which is scheduled to take place tomorrow (Saturday).
As per the Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson, the premier is visiting Ankara at the invitation of President Erdogan. He will congratulate the president of Turkey on his election victory on behalf of the government and people of Pakistan
“The prime minister’s visit will be a reaffirmation of the deep-rooted fraternal ties between Pakistan and Turkey,” the spokesperson added. During the visit, PM Shehbaz will also extend an invitation to President Erdogan to attend the 7th Meeting of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC) in Islamabad.
“Pakistan-Turkey relationship is deeply embedded in commonalities of faith, culture and history, and strengthened by mutual trust and convergence of views on regional and global matters. Frequent leadership level exchanges are a de-fining feature of the eternal bonds of friendship between the two countries,” the spokesperson further said.
The FO statement was unclear as to how long the PM’s trip would be but sources told Geo News that the trip will be two days long. They also shared that the premier will depart from Islamabad today. The PM made his maiden trip to Turkey in June 2022 for a three-day trip.
He took a second trip to the country in November of last year. The last trip the prime minister took to Ankara was in February of this year when he went to the country to express solidarity with the people of Turkey following the mas-sive earthquake that claimed more than 36,000 lives and left the country reeling. This will be the fourth trip to Turkey by PM Shehbaz ever since he took charge of the country.
last week, President Erdogan extended his two decades in power in elections, winning a mandate to pursue increas-ingly authoritarian policies which have polarised Turkey and strengthened its position as a regional military power.
His challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, called it “the most unfair election in years” but did not dispute the outcome. Official results showed Kilicdaroglu won 47.9% of the votes to Erdogan’s 52.1%, pointing to a deeply divided nation.
The election had been seen as one of the most consequential yet for Turkey, with the opposition believing it had a strong chance of unseating Erdogan and reversing his policies after his popularity was hit by a cost-of-living crisis.
Instead, victory reinforced his image of invincibility, after he had already redrawn domestic, economic, security and foreign policy in the NATO member country of 85 million people.
The prospect of five more years of his rule was a major blow to opponents who accused him of undermining democra-cy as he amassed ever more power — a charge he denies.
In a victory speech in Ankara, Erdogan pledged to leave all disputes behind and unite behind national values and dreams but then switched gears, lashing out at the opposition and accusing Kilicdaroglu of siding with terrorists with-out providing evidence.
He said releasing former pro-Kurdish party leader Selahattin Demirtas, whom he branded a “terrorist,” would not be possible under his governance. Erdogan said inflation was Turkey’s most urgent issue.