INTERVIEW of H.E MURAT M. ONART
CONSUL GENERAL REPUBLIC OF TURKEY KARACHI, PAKISTAN ON 18TH FEB. 2013
Editor : Thank you for your consent to share with us your thoughts and insight on various issues on Pakistan-Turkey bilateral relations. First of all let our readers know about your previous postings and brief profile?
Consul General: Thank you for coming here and It is my pleasure giving you an interview. To start off, I was born in 1968 in Ankara, Turkey and belong to family of a Diplomat as My father was also a Diplomat working in Turkish Foreign Services. Secondly, I have taken my basic education mostly in French schools at different destinations including Turkey. Moreover, I Graduated in Economics from Ankara University. After I joined Foreign Services in 1991, I was posted to Libya in 1994-1997, then was sent to the College of Europe in Bruges in 1997-1998 and our Embassy in Belgium in 1998-1998. After that, I went to Algeria in 2001-2006. In between, I served in Ankara in various Departments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Finally, I was posted to Karachi, Pakistan in the year 2011.
Editor: How would you define relationship between Pakistan and Turkey?
Consul General: Well, I would like to define Pakistan and Turkey relationship into three areas like Political, Economical and Cultural. I can say that the relationship between two countries is more than perfect, you can say it is dream relationship between two countries. However, the people of both countries are naturally emotional and usually the international relations are based on logic. During the first world war the Ottoman Empire was going through very tough time as we were occupied by Britain, France, Italy and Greece. At this time, Muslims in the Subcontinent who didn’t want to see the last independent Muslim country fall, founded the Khilafat Movement and provided funds to our resistance movement. Even, women sold their jewelry to be send to Turkey. The biggest private bank of today’s Turkey, “İş Bankası” was established with the remain of those funds. When we became Republic Pakistan and turkey have good relationship with each other and also I can say that we always welcome Pakistani people with open arms and always give them respect, whether they are coming for tourism or business purposes. As per international relations with Pakistan , when Pakistan became independent we were the one of First Countries to recognize it. In view of current situation Prime of Pakistan is also visiting our country and our also. Therefore, we both have strong political relationship. As a part of cultural relationship some of private partnership of Turkish Media and Pakistan Media for instance Turkish T.V Productions in which people of Pakistan can learn about our culture as a part of our cultural relationship. It is privately initiative from private sector of both countries. Furthermore, 2014 is Cultural year for both of countries, as we have lot of cultural events this year in Pakistan as well as Pakistan’s Cultural year in Turkey.
Editor:What are major areas where both countries cooperate ?
Consul General: As part of International relations we are cooperating very well. We are giving full support to Pakistan on Kashmir issue and Pakistan is giving us full support on Cyprus issue. Secondly, we are willing to cooperate if there is any other help needed. As we have learned that Pakistan has strong international forums in The United Nations (U.N). Moreover, A Turkish company is building a logistics ship in Karachi shipyard. However, The design was Turkish but all the work has been done by Pakistani Engineers here in Karachi ship yard under Turkish Supervision. This is the excellent way and an example of collaboration of both countries.
Editor: I would like you to reflect on Turkey-Pakistan Development partnership?
Consul General: I want to see Pakistan more economical wealthy country and want to see more investment coming here from Turkish investors. I also would like to see more and more Turkish products to be imported here in Pakistan as Turkey is rich in manufacturing of Machinery, appliances and cars. I hope that in next coming years economy of Pakistan will grow.
Editor: Would you like to reflect on some of your up coming development projects of Turkey in partnership with Pakistan.
Consul General: Well, there are many Turkish companies who are exploring Pakistan for development projects and one of the companies named Zorlu completed their wind energy project in Jhimper, Sindh. Another area is Coal exploration in Sindh as many other Turkish Companies are interested in Thar Coal Project. As per our invitation more and more investors are coming to Pakistan to invest in these projects to strengthen economy of Pakistan. These days one of the biggest airport management company of Turkey arrived to probe airport projects in Pakistan, they already contributed more than 10 Airports worldwide.
Editor: How your government is facilitating to the foreign investors?
Consul General: Well, we have huge reforms in our systems and we are having many foreign investments, as we are on top of facilitation, there are many chances for foreign investors to achieve their objectives. We provide great assistance to investors so it is very easy to enter the Turkish market.
Editor:Every year how many Pakistanis are travelling to Turkey for business and tourism purpose?
Consul General: It is very difficult to asses as most Pakistanis traveling abroad are dual nationals. On the other hands, you can say that approximately 2000 visas a month from Islamabad and Karachi. To get an idea, There are 10 million visitor to Istanbul last year was Pakistani origin.
Editor: Education is an important pillar for building up a nation. How much are there chances for Pakistani students to take up their studies in Turkey?
Consul General: I am very much supporting education specially university education in Turkey. After getting education in Turkey they became Ambassador of Turkey in Pakistan. Also there are many companies who are organizing Education Fairs in Pakistan, also some of universities providing internships for graduates. I have learned that Pakistani students are hard working and there are many chances for students to attain highly recognized degrees there.
Editor: Turkey A Candidate for Upcoming UN Security Council Non-permanent seat of Western EU.of 2015-16. What are the goals and objective of Turkey to contribute in World Peace Process?
Consul General: At the time when United Nations formed , Turkey was the founding member. In 2002, it was member of Security Council. Our Government is willing to play our part in United Nations to contribute to World Peace Process and want to be heard in United Nations. In the year 2009-2011 Turkey also participated in Elections of U.N for Non-Permanent seat. We are participating again for this non-permanent seat of Western E.U of 2015-16. The Turkish role in International world in increasing. We also play our part in International world peace process. Hopefully we will play our role more efficiently after getting Non-permanent seat of the United Nations of Western E.U of 2015-16.
Editor: What is your message to People of Pakistan?
Consul General: Well, when I came here in Pakistan, I learned that Pakistan is very rich as per the people of Pakistan are very hard working and they also come up with great ideas and skills. I realized that they can contribute to their country in very good manners. My message to People of Pakistan is to get along with each other that would make their country more powerful.
Editor: Thank you H.E Consul General Sir, for your time. It was nice talking to you.
Consul General: Same here, Thank you.