Turkey ready to work on CPEC projects, says President Erdogan alongside PM Imran

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) should be “better explained to Turkish entrepreneurs”, adding that the country is “ready to work on that”.

Speaking at the Pakistan-Turkey Business and Investment Forum in Islamabad alongside Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Turkish president, seemingly referring to CPEC, said: “Turkey is not given the same opportunities that are offered to some other countries.” The Turkish president began his speech by thanking Pakistan for being “wonderful hosts” on his two-day trip. Recounting his official engagements, Erdogan said that yesterday, he had met President Arif Alvi and, today, also had the opportunity to address a joint session of Parliament. “Hopefully we’ll open the door for new businesses. We wish to raise the level of Pakistan and Turkey’s business relations to the level of our political relations,” he said.

“Currently, our trade is only $800 m which is not acceptable for us. Our mutual population is over 300 million. Therefore, we have to bring our trade to the level we deserve,” he maintained, adding that we cannot allow protectionism to hinder bilateral trade. “So we should quickly increase our bilateral trade to $1 billion, and then bring it up to $5 billion. We cannot obtain these objectives only through good will, we have to take determined, clear, and strong steps towards our common objectives.” In Turkey we have 158 companies with Pakistani capital […] we would like to see more such companies, he said. Currently, we have a model in place for offering Turkish citizenship to investors under certain conditions, he added.

“I invite my Pakistani brethren to have confidence in the Turkish economy, we are among the world’s top 20 economies. “Turkey had a public debt of 72 per cent which we brought down to 30pc. Despite all the attacks, the economic espionage and the regional situation we continued to grow,” he said, stressing on the country’s banking sector and tourism industry. “We see that Pakistan is taking important steps in facilitating businesses and providing a conducive environment [for them]under the leadership of my brother Imran. We are aware that Pakistan offers a lot of opportunities. “We have companies of international renown in the fields of defence, transportation, housing, healthcare, and construction,” he stated.

Talking about Turkish serials and dramas which are popular in the country, he said: “Turkish serials that are followed by millions of people abroad are being followed by Pakistanis too, so we should also venture into filmmaking. “I have heard that Pakistanis trust western healthcare more, we have to change that.” Turkey is far more advanced than other western countries, with the latest medical advancements and healthcare, he said. “With our support, and with the efforts of the business community, our economic-social relations will receive the respect it deserves.”

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