Erdoğan urges solidarity in politics in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD - Anatolia News Agency
‘We call this [roof] white, but they call it black,’ says Prime Minister Erdoğan (L) showing a white roof referring to Turkish opposition during a joint press conference in Islamabad with his Pakistani counterpart Gilani on May 22. AA Photo
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he wanted to see solidarity between Pakistan’s government and the opposition, also criticizing the Turkish opposition’s stance toward the government, speaking at a joint press conference with his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani in Islamabad yesterday.
“After listening to his opinions on this issue, I want to see solidarity between Mr. [the leader of the main opposition, Nawaz] Sharif and Mr. Gilani, because this is necessary for Pakistan’s interests,” said Erdoğan, responding a question on whether he can bring Gilani and Sharif together.
Erdoğan said Pakistan’s opposition had supported the government in the past, adding that he told Gilani at the time that he wished to have “an opposition like that” in Turkey too. “But we did not have an opposition like that. Today it is the same. We call this [roof] white, but they call it black. Still, we continue our struggle,” said Erdoğan. “We should put the people first. The state is secondary. The purpose of the state is only to serve the people, and not anything else.” After the press conference, Erdoğan separately received Sharif and Jamaat-e-Islami President Syed Munawar Hassan in Islamabad yesterday.
Turkey’s Afghanistan withdrawal schedule
Responding to a question on when Turkish forces would leave Afghanistan, Erdoğan said NATO planned to complete its mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but that this was not definite. “It may happen after 2014. As Turkey, we are thinking of leaving Afghanistan after all other countries have left.” Erdoğan said Turkey would not leave its “brothers” alone there unless Afghanistan wanted.
“Whenever they tell us, ‘Thank you,’ then we will withdraw. But until that time comes, we will continue to work there,” said Erdoğan.
Afghanistan is expected to take steps for its own needs with the help of 2 billion dollars of assistance from the U.S. after withdrawal, Erdoğan said. Turkey also has commitments in Afghanistan and has been contributing to infrastructure and superstructure development in the Wardak region, he added.
Erdoğan said he hoped that the Afghan people would overcome their problems and that prosperity and peace would be secured there.
Addressing the recent problems between NATO and Pakistan over the supply routes to Afghanistan, Erdoğan said the issue was left to the decision of Pakistan.
Turkey and Pakistan signed nine agreements during Erdoğan’s time there, including a joint statement envisaging high-level cooperation on renewable energy, framework agreement on cooperation on highway transportation and agreement on incentives of mutual investments.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan received an honorary doctorate degree from the Quaid-i Azam University at a ceremony in Islamabad yesterday. Following the completion of his talks, Erdoğan was scheduled to proceed to Kazakhstan.
We’re not interested in demands for
ISLAMABAD – Anatolia News Agency
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he is not interested in any requests for the release of a prominent Turkish doctor and deputy, after a Pakistani association sent a letter to Erdoğan.
Erdoğan was responding to questions at a press conference in Islamabad, and said “internal or external requests from some activists do not interest us on a matter that has been submitted to court.” Erdoğan said everyone was bound by jurisdiction, even a person who is very successful in their job.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Mehmet Haberal is under arrest for three years pending trial in the ongoing Ergenekon probe. The Transplantation Society of Pakistan recently sent a letter to Erdoğan appealing for the release of Prof. Haberal, known with his successful transplantations.