World Bulletin / News Desk
Ahead of an official visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan starting Wednesday, Aziz, who effectively serves as Pakistan's foreign minister, said the countries shared views on both regional and global issues, including the conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria.
"Turkey has carried the huge burden of Syrian refugees, similarly Pakistan is hosting 3 million Afghan refugees. We will continue to hold discussions and cooperate to handle these issues," Aziz said, pointing out that Turkey had long tried to support a peace process in Afghanistan by with Heart of Asia–Istanbul process, which gathers the heads of Asian governments.
Aziz is one of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's closest advisors and also served as foreign minister during Sharif's previous stint as prime minister in the late 1990s. He welcomed Erdogan's forthcoming visit, saying it would provide the countries another opportunity to discuss regional issues as well as strengthen their own ties in trade, business and defense, noting that a free trade agreement is close to completion.
"We always attach great importance to our relations with Turkey. It is his first visit [to Pakistan] after the failed military coup therefore it has an added importance," Aziz said, adding that despite the coup attempt he believed "Turkey will emerge stronger in terms of its democratic credentials as well as continuity of the democratic order."