Turkey, Pakistan must team up against terror: Erdoğan

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Turkey and Pakistan must fight jointly against terror, especially under the umbrella of Islam, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in Islamabad on Nov. 17. 

“We must fight together against the ones who are trying to convert the Islamic world into a geography of hate, defeatism and unrest,” said Erdoğan Nov. 17 at a joint press conference alongside Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif following a one-on-one meeting and delegation-level talks in Islamabad. 

“Turkey and Pakistan, with their [geographical] location and ancient civilization heritage, have the potential to lead in this topic and mobilize the world,” Erdoğan said, adding that the rest of the world was trying to rip Islam apart. 

“We are obliged to walk to the future by uniting under the umbrella of Islam,” he said. 

Erdoğan praised Pakistan’s resolve to dismantle Gülenist networks in the country, whichAnkara accuses of orchestrating the July 15 failed coup. 

“It is necessary to dismantle this evil network. The terrorist organization is a threat to the security of Pakistan,” said Erdoğan. 

More than 240 people died on the night of July 15 after Erdoğan called on the nation to take to the streets to fight against a group inside the Turkish army that tried to stage a coup to topple the government and Erdoğan. 

The government accuses friend-turned-foe U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen and his supporters of organizing the failed coup attempt. Gülen denies any involvement. 

Turkey has detained, dismissed or fired more than 100,000 people as part of the post-attempt crackdown. 

Ahead of Erdoğan’s two-day visit, Pakistan moved to shutter a network of schools run by the Gülenist movement and deport its foreign teachers, in a move welcomed by Ankara.        

“I am thankful for the solidarity clearly demonstrated by the Pakistani administration on this matter, and for their decisive stance against this organization. Turkey and Pakistan have always stood side by side,” Erdoğan said.

On the Kashmir question, Erdoğan said, “The issue of Kashmir needs a resolution based on dialogue between Pakistan and India in line with U.N. resolutions, and the demands of the Kashmiri people should be considered. As a president [of a country], and a term president of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation [OIC], we are determined to continue our support.” 

Sharif, for his part, said: “We have decided to form a strategic partnership on our special relations, prioritizing the economic side. We agreed to create a solid bedrock for bilateral relations in trade, investment, and the economy. In this regard, we also agreed to implement the process for a free trade agreement before 2017.”

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