President Zardari pledges full support to Turkish investors in setting up banks, energy projects

ANKARA: President Asif Ali Zardari Thursday invited Turkish businessmen to set up banks and invest in energy, infrastructure and food processing projects with the full support and incentives by the government of Pakistan.Addressing Turkey-Pakistan Business Council here at an event organized by Turkish Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TOBB), he said Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto started the process of building relations with Turkey and he owes it to the future generations to work for furthering the bilateral ties.The President referred to the rescue of a Turkish envoy in Ivory Coast by the Pakistani peacekeeping troops and evacuation of Pakistanis by Turkey in Libya as a sign of strong feelings which the peoples and governments of the two countries have for each other.President Zardari said years back Turkey was facing economic difficulties with high inflation but now it has emerged as a model of economic growth.He said his government will focus on enhancing bilateral trade by promoting connectivity of the region through road and rail links and energy corridors.

Focus of the two countries will remain on successfully executing Gul freight train project and upgrading the railway lines to cut short costs and time, he said adding they are looking into the possibility of running the train at 200 km per hour to make it more feasible and using modern technology to remove technical difficulties.The President urged Turkish businessmen to take advantage of the incentives offered by Pakistani government.Pakistan and Turkey are friends having common history and language and the next bond of friendship will be interdependence because of trade, he said adding Turkey offers gateway to the markets of Europe while Pakistan besides being a big market of 170 million itself is neighbour to big countries like India and China and provides access to Central Asian states.He reminded that Pakistan is rich in natural resources and will give preference to Turkish companies for exploitation of its mineral wealth and investment in industrial and financial sectors.The President said as competition is fierce between the countries in the economic field so there is a need for common strategies by Turkey and Pakistan, which are two states but one nation.

He said the PPP-led government of Sindh is willing to give land to Turkish businessmen on 99 year lease and they can raise money through Pakistani stock exchanges and take back their capital and profits to begin more projects.The President said Pakistan has an educated and skilled population and its middle class is growing and it can become food basket and produce textiles for economically strong countries like Turkey.He said in the last few years, there is a sea change in agriculture in Pakistan with farmers earning more money.The President said Turkey has great potential to boost its tourism due to its history.He said next century belongs to Asia and Pakistan will be a vital part of that resurgence and there is a need to have out of box solutions for maximum utilization of the new opportunities.“We need to improve our agriculture through use of improved seeds and irrigation and better per acre yields,” he said adding Turkish businessmen can invest in agro and processed food industry due to Pakistan’s traditionally strong agricultural background.The President said Pakistan is turning towards alternative fuels to counter the challenges posed by environmental challenges caused by carbon dioxide emissions. – APP