ANKARA: 24 March 2015:   To celebrate Pakistan’s National Day, Ambassador Sohail Mahmood hosted a reception on Monday evening. A large number of guests including from amongst Turkish political and military leadership, parliamentarians, senior officials, media representatives, Pakistani community and diplomats based in Turkey attended the reception.

H.E. Mr. İdris Güllüce, Minister of Environment and Urbanization and co-chair of Pakistan-Turkey Joint Economic Commission, was the chief guest. Head of Turkey-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Group Mr. Burhan Kayaturk, and Deputy Chief of Turkish General Staff General Yaşar Güler, were among the other high level guests attending.

Minister İdris Güllüce in his speech said that the people of Turkey and Pakistan are brothers. He said Turkey is grateful to the people of Pakistan for standing by in difficult times during the Turkish War of Independence. He said that the Turkish nation will never forget this support. Mr. Güllüce added that Pakistan has a special place in the hearts of Turks. He said the excellent bilateral relations are being transformed into a vibrant economic partnership. “We aim to achieve bilateral trade of US$ 1 billion this year,” Mr. Gulluce said. “We are pleased to note that Pakistan will be represented at the highest level at the centenary commemorations of Çanakkale battle this year,” he added.

Ambassador Sohail Mahmood in his speech thanked the dignitaries for attending the national day celebrations, noting that celebrating “Pakistan Day” in Turkey is like celebrating it in Pakistan as Turkey is truly our second home. Referring to the recent visit of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to Pakistan, Ambassador Sohail Mahmood said the visit made significant contribution to our joint efforts to transform our cordial relationship into a comprehensive partnership. He added that both countries have decided to commence negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Both countries are also taking steps to further promote investments, increase defence collaboration, and intensify cultural collaboration and people-to-people exchanges, he added.

A “Pakistan Food Festival” also commenced with the National Day reception. Guests were served Pakistani cuisine prepared by executive chefs invited specially from Pakistan’s leading hotel chain. The Food Festival shall continue for one week.

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