Turkey ready to join CPEC projects, President Erdogan says

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said Turkey wants to enhance trade with Pakistan and increase the trade volume between the two countries to $5 billion.

Addressing the Pakistan-Turkey Business and Investment Forum, the Turkish president said the trade volume between the two countries is below its true potential.

“We will quickly increase our bilateral trade to $1 billion and then bring it to $5 billion,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan said the two countries can collaborate in a number of industries for their mutual benefit.

He said Islamabad and Ankara should not allow any protectionism or trade walls between the two.

The Turkish president said his country is increasing its investments in Pakistan.

“Turkey is one of the top twenty economies of the world. We have brought down our debt from 72% of GDP to 33%. Turkey increased tourists from 13 million to 68 million [per year], resulting in $35 billion dollars generated from this sector compared to $8.5 billion in the past.”

He said that Pakistan and Turkey have to take determined and strong steps towards their common objectives.

He also invited Pakistani investors to invest in Turkey.

“We have a model of offering Turkish citizenship to international investors,” he said.

On Pakistan’s improvement in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings, Erdogan said: “The country is taking important steps in facilitating the business environment under the leadership of my brother, [Prime Minister] Imran.”

“Our top construction companies would like to enter work in major infrastructure projects,” he said.

“CPEC projects should be explained to Turkish entrepreneurs and we are ready to work,” he said.

The president also highlighted that his country offers better value for money for those looking for medical treatment abroad.

“With affordable prices, Turkey is far more advanced than Western countries,” he said.

‘Erdogan could win election in Pakistan’

Earlier, Prime Minsiter Imran Khan also spoke to the council, where a large number of businessman from both countries were also present.

“After the [Turkish] president’s address to the parliament, I can safely say he [Erdogan] can win the next election in Pakistan,” the prime minister said.

“I have seen the government benches thumping their desks like they did. but I have never seen the opposition join the thumping and appreciate the speech like it did today,” PM Imran teased.

“It is a great tribute to you, Mr President. It shows the love and affection you have in Pakistan,” the premier added.

The prime minister maintained that the PTI government will do anything to improve Pakistan’s trade relationship with Turkey.

“We will be facilitating the business community to invest in joint ventures,” he promised.

PM Imran also invited Turkish businessmen to invest in Pakistan’s tourism sector. “I have been to Turkey as a tourist and Pakistan can learn a lot from it.”

“A recent magazine from the US considered Pakistan as its number one destination for tourism, but we lack infrastructure and Turkey can help us [in this regard],” the premier said.