Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday telephoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to express solidarity and support for Ankara as it faces international pressure over Turkey’s ongoing operation against Kurdish forces in Syria.
The premier during the conversation told the Turkish president that “Pakistan fully understands Turkey’s concerns relating to terrorism”, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said.
“As a country which has lost more than 70,000 lives due to terrorism and borne the burden of more than 3 million refugees for decades, Pakistan is fully cognisant of the threats and challenges being faced by Turkey having lost 40,000 of its people to terrorism,” the prime minister was quoted as saying.
“We pray that Turkey’s efforts for enhanced security, regional stability and peaceful resolution of the Syrian situation are fully successful,” he added.
Turkey considers Kurdish militants in northern Syria a “terrorist” offshoot of Kurdish insurgents in its own territory.
It wants a 30 kilometre wide buffer zone along the border, which can also serve as an area to repatriate millions of Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey. In this regard, Turkey earlier this week launched a military offensive against Kurdish militants in northern Syria, causing concerns among several countries who have called on Ankara to show restraint.
During the phone call, Prime Minister Imran said that the government and people of Pakistan are looking forward to accord a warm welcome to President Erdogan on his forthcoming visit to Pakistan later this month.