Efforts are underway to dismiss FETO-linked school teachers in Pakistan, the country’s ambassador to Turkey, Sohail Mahmood, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
"Enemies of Turkey are enemies of Pakistan. Friends of Turkey are the friends of Pakistan,” he said.
On Nov. 15, Pakistan ordered dozens of Turkish staff working at the Pak-Turk Education Foundation to leave the country.
A total of 108 teachers from schools across Pakistan are believed to be linked to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and they have been informed that their visas would not be extended and were asked to leave by Nov. 20 in a notice from the Interior Ministry to Fesih Celik, CEO of the Pak-Turk Education Foundation.
Turkey requested that Pakistan close dozens of schools, colleges and businesses it says are part of the FETO network. The group is accused of orchestrating the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey. The notification came ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two-day visit to Pakistan last month.
"Pakistan was one of the first countries to condemn the July 15 attempted coup. Our leadership and government extended full support and solidarity to the president, to the elected government and the democratic institutions of Turkey," Mahmood said.
"The people and the government in Pakistan are deeply relieved and overjoyed that democracy triumphed in Turkey and that the illegal coup attempt was defeated."
Turkey has accused FETO leader Fetullah Gulen, who has lived in the U.S. since 1999, of being the mastermind behind the deadly putsch attempt and a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the “parallel state”.
Trade volume aim is $1 billion
Mahmood said relations between Turkey and Pakistan rely on "deep mutual trust, understanding each other and cordiality."
The current $600 million in trade between the two countries is an area that needs improvement, he said.
"The two countries' leadership believes that this volume is not at the desired level. The efforts aim to bring the level up to $1 billion," he said, adding that a total of 270 million population between Turkey and Pakistan presents a big market.
"Soon, hopefully, we will have two Yunus Emre Cultural Centers,” he said, in Lahore and Karachi. “Also we hope these will also help enhancing our cultural collaboration between the countries," he said, adding that a "significant number of students in Turkey study the Urdu language."
Turkey membership in SCO 'brings additional value'
Asked to evaluate Turkey as a dialogue partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and that it would chair the organization's annual Energy Club gathering in 2017, Mahmood hailed Turkey as a "very important country of the region."
“Turkey, being a very important country of the region, its participation in these activities brings additional valuable element to the cooperation," he said.
Pakistan has been an observer country and he added the focus of the SCO is "peace, security and economic integration."
"The region, suffers from number of challenges, including terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime and such. And then similarly, the region is full of opportunities," he added.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is dominated by China and Russia. The other full members include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.