Turkish President Erdogan arrives in Islamabad

Pakistanis walk pasts billboards showing the portraits of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, President Mamnoon Hussain, left, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, right, to welcome Erdogan to Islamabad. ─ AP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Islamabad Wednesday evening on a two-day visit.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Kulsoom Nawaz, Maryam Nawaz, and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif welcomed the Turkish president upon arrival at Nur Khan airbase in Rawalpindi.

Turkish President Erdogan exits his plane alongside his wife.
Turkish President Erdogan exits his plane alongside his wife.

Erdogan is accompanied by his wife Emine and a high-level entourage including ministers, senior officials, and members of the Turkish business community, Radio Pakistan reported.

The Turkish president is expected to hold meetings with President Mamnoon Hussain and PM Nawaz during his visit.

The exchange of views between the leaders will cover a range of bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues.

Turkish President Erdogan receives a bouquet upon arrival.
Turkish President Erdogan receives a bouquet upon arrival.

He will also address a joint session of parliament on Thursday. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf ‘leadership’ has decided to boycott Erdogan’s address saying the party will not attend a joint session held under a “controversial” prime minister facing charges of corruption.

This will be Erdogan’s third address to a joint session of parliament in Pakistan, DawnNews reported.

The Turkish president is also expected to travel to Lahore, where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will host a banquet in the honour of visiting dignity at the Shahi Fort.

Erdogan arrives in Pakistan amid uncertainty of the fate of Pak-Turk schools in the country.

Ahead of the Turkish president’s visit to Pakistan, the interior ministry asked the Turkish staff of the Pak-Turk schools and colleges to leave the country by Nov 20 in the middle of an educational session.

The number of teachers and other staff in the chain’s 28 schools and colleges stand at 108 and the total number of their family members at about 400, an official earlier told Dawn.

The number of students enrolled at the school lie between 10,000-11,000, according to a petition filed by school management moving the Islamabad High Court against orders to leave the country.

In August, Pakistan had promised Turkey’s visiting Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu that it would look into affairs of the chain Ankara wanted to be closed for its alleged links with US-based self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Turkish President Recip Tayyep Erdogan claims Fethullah Gulen was behind a botched coup attempt to remove him from office earlier this year and has repeatedly called on the US to extradite Gulen.

Gulen claims the allegations are ‘slander’ and has called for an international inquiry into the abortive coup, vowing his “full cooperation” with any such probe of the putsch over which Ankara is seeking his extradition.