By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - Turkey's Chief of the General Staff Gen. Yasar Guler on Tuesday visited the headquarters of Pakistan Navy in the capital Islamabad and met with Pakistan’s acting Naval Chief Vice Admiral Fayyaz Gilani.
According to a statement by Pakistan Navy, Guler and Gilani discussed issues of regional security and stability and professional matters of mutual interest including bilateral defense collaboration.
Gen. Guler, who was presented a guard of honor upon his arrival, was introduced to the Principal Staff Officers at the headquarters.
He also laid floral wreath at the monument of martyrs.
According to the statement, Gilani highlighted Pakistan Navy’s efforts for ensuring maritime security in the region in the form of Regional Maritime Security Patrols and participation in Combined Maritime Forces.
The Turkish commander, it said, appreciated Pakistan Navy’s initiatives in support of collaborative maritime security in the region.
The two agreed on further enhancing cooperation in various domains of military collaboration between the two countries.
Gilani also updated Guler about human rights situation in disputed Jammu and Kashmir following New Delhi’s scrapping of the region’s longstanding special status in August.
He also thanked Ankara for extending support to Pakistan “on this humanitarian issue”.
The recent visit of the commander of the Turkish Armed Forces will “further augment and expand defense ties” between the two countries in general and the defense forces in particular, the statement concluded.
Ankara and Islamabad have boosted bilateral defense and security cooperation in recent years. In October 2018, Pakistan Navy commissioned a 17,000-ton fleet tanker built in collaboration with a Turkish defense company in the southern port city of Karachi.
This was the largest warship ever constructed in the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works in collaboration with Turkish defense contractor STM, according to Pakistan Navy.
In July 2018, Ankara won a multibillion-dollar tender to supply four corvettes to Pakistan Navy -- a deal dubbed as the biggest export for Turkey’s defense industry in history by the then Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli.
Turkey, in 2016, had gifted 34 T-37 aircraft and spares to Pakistan.
Ankara is, meanwhile, buying MFI-17 Super Mushshak aircraft from Pakistan besides upgrading three Pakistani submarines and jointly building a fleet tanker.