DEİK President Vardan holds talks with the President and the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
DEİK President Ömer Cihad Vardan, the President of the DEİK/Turkey-Pakistan Business Council, Atilla Demir Yerlikaya, and members of the Business Council, on 1-2 September 2016 paid a visit to Pakistan and held talks in Islamabad and Lahore. During the two-day visit, DEİK President Vardan and Business Council President Verlikaya held bilateral talks with the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain, the Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani Finance Minister, Ishak Dar, and the Chief Minister of the Province of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif.
The DEİK delegation took part in the inauguration of a clean drinking water facility that will supply 500,000 people annually. The installation was built by WWF Pakistan with the support of Coca Cola İçecek, a partnership of the Anadolu Group. The visitors from Turkey also took part in the "Pakistan-Turkey Business Community Dialogue" organised in cooperation of the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) and the DEİK/Turkey-Pakistan Business Council. At the meeting, PBIT and DEİK signed a Protocol of Understanding regarding the advancement of bilateral trade and investments.
DEİK President Vardan: "We must further develop our bilateral relations with our friends and brothers in Pakistan"
On 2 September 2016, the DEİK delegation was received by the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain. Vardan thanked President Hussain for his support after the coup attempt in Turkey of 15 July. Pakistan was one of the first countries to express its solidarity with the Turkish government. "After the coup attempt, true to the more than 600 year old historic ties between Turkey and Pakistan and the bilateral strategic partnership, Pakistan did not delay its response to condemn the coup attempt. The next day, the President and the Prime Minister sent our country a message of solidary," he said. Vardan also reiterated the fact that a parliamentary delegation from Pakistan was the first to pay an official visit to Ankara in the immediate aftermath of the coup attempt.
Addressing the issue of bilateral economic and trade ties, DEİK President Vardan said: ""We must further develop bilateral relations with our friends and brothers in Pakistan in every area." Since both countries' people, besides their economic and trade relations, were already engaged in a very close social, cultural and academic exchange, it was time to bond the two nations with closer cooperation in trade and investments as well. The host country's President, Mamnoon Hussain, praised the Turkish people for its resolve in the face of the 15 July coup attempt.
Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif: "With its commitment to democracy, the Turkish people gave an example to the world"
During their visit to Pakistan, DEİK President Vardan and Business Council President Yerlikaya were received by the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the Prime Minister's official residence in the capital Islamabad. At the meeting, Vardan expressed his gratitude for Pakistan's support in the aftermath of the 15 July coup attempt. "Pakistan's prosperity is Turkey's priority," he said. Vardan praised the host country's approach towards their countries' bilateral trade: "Pakistan is very accommodating; Turkish companies and businessmen working in Pakistan face no visa obstacle or working permit restrictions." He also expressed his great satisfaction with the presence in Pakistan, a country with a population of almost 200 million, of - a still rather small number of – Turkish companies such as Coca-Cola İçecek, Albayraklar, STFA and Zorlu Enerji. The recent acquisition of Pakistan's white goods giant Dawlance by the Turkish company Arçelik had brought bilateral investment relations to an entirely new level. He also mentioned the interest of the Turkish Ülker and Kale groups to invest in the host country. Infrastructure projects and manufacturing and distribution in a number of sectors were other examples of business opportunities cited by Vardan. Their exploitation was facilitated by the fact that Turkey's national carrier, THY, currently offered 28 scheduled flights to three Pakistani cities. In Vardan's opinion, the bilateral trade and investment relations need to be addressed with a strategic perspective for which smart objectives need to be defined. It also required the speedy removal of certain obstacles to trade. One of them was the Free Trade Agreement, currently under negotiation. The DEİK President urged his hosts to finalise the FTA as soon as possible in order to advance relations. Pakistan, he said, was a land of great potential. In view of this, the current trade volume of a mere USD 600 million, was actually a disgrace. This needed to be changed immediately, and that required the will to change it. Vardan was convinced that the FTA, which is scheduled to be signed in the near future, will help in achieving it. For Turkey, a G20 member country, Pakistan's wellbeing and prosperity were of utmost importance. Prime Minister Sharif said he deeply admired the resolve of the brave and resilient Turkish people, who stood up to express their support and commitment to democracy. "We express our complete support and solidarity with President Erdogan, the democratically elected government of Turkey and the democratic institutions of Turkey," he said. The Prime Minister also promised his support for any steps taken to advance bilateral trade and economic relations.
Every year clean water for 500,000 people – DEİK and PBIT sign Protocol of Understanding
During their visit to Lahore, the DEİK delegation took part in the Pakistan-Turkey Business Community Dialogue meeting, organised by the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT), and attended by over 150 Pakistani businessmen and investors. In his opening address, the DEİK President called up the businessmen of the host country to invest in Turkey. He said: "We are businesspeople, our prime objective is to do business, and we know how trade can bring two countries together even if they are separated by thousands of kilometres. Pakistan and Turkey are countries bound by ties of friendship and brotherhood. Our shared history goes back over 600 years. Because of that we must work on closer bonds between our people. You have invited us to invest in your country, in return we invite you to invest in our country. Turkey offers particular benefits for Pakistani companies that want to access the European market." The meeting was concluded with the signing of a Protocol of Understanding between DEİK and PBIT. The agreement was signed by President of the DEİK/Turkey-Pakistan Business Council, Atilla Demir Yerlikaya, on behalf of DEİK, and by PBIT's CEO Amena Cheema on behalf of PBIT. The DEİK delegation also took part in the inauguration of a clean drinking water facility that will supply 500,000 people annually. The installation was built by WWF Pakistan with the support of Coca Cola İçecek, a partnership of the Anadolu Group.
Business Council President Yerlikaya: "Signing of an FTA will foster friendship, trust, economic development and prosperity"
In his assessment of the two-day visit, DEİK President Vardan qualified the talks held with Pakistani officials as productive. Pakistan was a high-potential market in which Turkish companies were already active. He expects a widening of activities in the near future. Atilla Demir Yerlikaya, the DEİK/Turkey-Pakistan Business Council President, expects the FTA, to be signed by the end of 2016, to foster friendship, trust, economic development and prosperity between Turkey and Pakistan. Yerlikaya underlined his opinion that Turkish investors had finally become aware of the potential Pakistan offers.