By Islamuddin Sajid
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) – A senior Pakistani minister said Wednesday that Turkey is a time-tested friend.
Zubaida Jalal, federal minister for defense production, in a meeting with Turkey's Deputy Defense Minister Muhsin Dere expressed the desire to improve cooperation with Turkey, according to a statement from her office.
Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan Mustafa Yurdakul was also present at the meeting.
"I appreciate the extent of defense cooperation between the two countries and these ties should be continued to further expand the strategic partnership between Islamabad and Ankara," Jalal said.
She also briefed the Turkish minister on the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, part of China's Belt and Road Initiative in Pakistan.
She expressed her satisfaction at the formal commissioning of a fleet tanker of Pakistan Navy which was built with cooperation from Turkey.
Earlier, the Turkish minister met Pakistan's navy chief Adm. Zafar Mahmood Abbasi at the Naval Headquarter. They discussed bilateral relations.
Dere arrived in Pakistan on Tuesday along with a high level delegation to attend the commissioning ceremony of fleet tanker Moawin.
Ankara and Islamabad have developed strong bilateral ties, especially in defense and security fields, in recent years.
In July this year, Ankara won a multibillion-dollar tender to supply four corvettes to Pakistan Navy — a deal dubbed as the biggest export for Turkey’s defense industry in history by then-Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli.
In May 2017, Turkish and Pakistani defense companies struck another deal for construction of four Turkish Ada class MILGEM (National Ship) corvettes.
According to the agreement, two ships will be built in Istanbul and two others in Karachi.