Pakistan air chief praises Pak-Turk defense partnership

By Ahmet Salih Alacaci

ANKARA (AA) – Islamabad wants to "enhance and augment" its relations with Turkey, the Pakistan Air Force chief said on Thursday.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency at the Pakistan Embassy in Ankara, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan spoke about bilateral relations between the two countries.

“We are very appreciative of the Turkish people for standing by Pakistan in all difficult times,” the air force chief said.

“We want to enhance and augment these relations in the times to come,” he added.

Khan, who was awarded the Legion of Merit of Turkish Armed Forces on Wednesday, said the two countries “face similar challenges” in national security.

Referring to terrorism as the “biggest challenge” faced by Pakistan, Khan said that the country had lost more than 76,000 lives and in the last 17 years suffered more than $100 billion in damages.

He regretted the lack of global support for his country's effort to build a fence against cross-border terrorism, adding that “a stable Afghanistan is in the interests of Pakistan and the entire region".

He said: “Both countries need to further augment collaboration in the defense and security domain" in order to play a positive role in the stability of the region.

Turkey and Pakistan have recently contracted the sale/purchase of 30 Turkish attack helicopters, 4 Milgem corvettes and 52 Pakistani Super Mushshak trainer aircraft.

Khan said Pakistan was a peaceful nation and believed in peaceful coexistence with all neighbours.