ISLAMABAD – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that his country will oppose the inclusion of Pakistan on a Financial Action Task Force blacklist for its deficiencies in the fight against terrorist financing.
FATF will decide next week if it will include Pakistan on the blacklist for not doing enough to control the financing of terrorist groups in its territory.
If there are three votes in its favor then the Asian country would escape punitive measures.
Erdogan said in a speech to Pakistan’s parliament in Islamabad: “We will support Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force meetings, where Pakistan is subject to political pressure.”
He also described Pakistan as his “second home.”
If the country, which has been on a gray list since February 2018, is included on the blacklist then its economy, banking system and access to international markets could suffer difficulties.
Erdogan, who arrived in Islamabad on Thursday and will leave later on Friday, also offered his support in the Pakistani dispute with India over Kashmir.
He criticized New Delhi, without naming it, for stripping the region of its autonomous status last year and for severe measures imposed in the area, such as cutting communications.
The Turkish president held meetings with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, whom he repeatedly referred to as his “dear brother” and both leaders highlighted the “love” between their two countries.
Turkish and Pakistani delegations signed 13 collaboration agreements, in fields ranging from tourism, postal services, infrastructure and commerce.
Erdogan said they have agreed to increase trade to $5 billion by 2023, from the current $800 million.
Khan said: “We will be facilitating the Pakistani and Turkish business community to invest.”
Neither of the leaders referred to a free trade deal the two countries agreed to sign in 2016.
Pakistan saw a huge decline in terror and counter-terror related violence in 2019, according to data compiled by an independent think-tank.
The Islamabad-based Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies said 393 people had lost their lives in 159 terror attacks and 111 counter-terror operations across the country last year.