President Zardari arrives in Turkey on official visit

ANKARA: President Asif Ali Zardari arrived here  Monday evening on a four day official visit to hold talks with Turkish leadership to further cooperation and strengthening existing bilateral ties.President Zardari was warmly received by Turkish State Minister Mehmet Aydin, Governor Ankara Alaattin Yuksel and Pakistan’s ambassador to Turkey Tariq Azizuddin at Esenboga International Airport.He will hold meetings with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Speaker Turkish Grand National Assembly Mehmet Ali Sahin.The President’s entourage includes  Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar,Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and Chairman Board of Investment M. Saleem Mandviwala.

They  will assist him in formal delegation level talks with the Turkish leadership.During his stay, President Zardari will visit the mausoleum of founder of modern state of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to pay his respects. President Abdullah Gul will confer the Turkish state order medal Devlet Nishan on President Zardari in a special investiture ceremony for his contribution to promote bilateral ties between the two countries.The President will also meet Turkish businessmen and members of think tanks, academia and media.A delegation of leading businessmen from Pakistan will be in Ankara who will interact with Turkish businessmen and discuss prospects for joint ventures in various areas of the economy.

Pakistani Ambassador to Turkey Tariq Azizuddin told APP that the visit will focus on enhancing bilateral trade with an effort to bring it at par with the Pak-Turkish political partnership. The leadership of the two countries has been holding consultations to increase bilateral trade which two years back was $752 million, he added.Owing to concerted efforts of both the governments, the bilateral trade rose to  one billion dollars by 2010, the Ambassador stated adding now the two countries want to take the trade volume to  two billion dollars by the end of 2012.President Zardari also visited Turkey December last to take part in a trilateral summit of Presidents of Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan to seek ways to promote regional peace and stability. – APP