ISLAMABAD: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said that Ankara will assist Pakistan at Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meetings to get off the grey list despite any pressure.
Erdogan, who is on a two-day official trip to Pakistan, addressed the joint session of the parliament and said he considers Pakistan his “second home. Pakistan was placed on the FATF’s grey list in June 2018 after the 37-member global watchdog allegdly found deficiencies in the country’s legal framework to counter terrorism financing. Since then, Islamabad has been struggling to plug loopholes in its financial system to satisfy FATF’s criteria.
Pakistan was cleared of 14 of the 27 points at the Asia Pacific Group meeting held in Beijing on January 21 to 23. The United States, that had spearheaded the move to place Pakistan on the FATF’s grey list, has reportedly supported it in Beijing for the counter money-laundering and terrorism financing measures Islamabad has been implementing.
The FATF plenary session will begin in Paris on February 16 wherein it would decide whether to remove Pakistan from its grey list, or downgrade it further to the black list.
In his address, Erdogan thanked the people of Pakistan and its leadership over the warm welcome he was accorded upon arrival.
“It is my pleasure to speak to you. I am thankful to you for giving me the opportunity to address this august house.” “While in Pakistan, I think as if I am at my home,” he said.
The Turkish president hailed Pakistan’s efforts in the war on terrorism and said the country was the most affected by the menace. “We are fully cognizant of the problems faced by Pakistan and we will continue to extend cooperation to it to cope with them.”
“Despite all the pressure, I assure you Turkey’s unflinching support at the FATF.” “Our friendship is based on love and respect. Pakistan’s pain is our pain,” the Turkish president said.
“Pakistan is moving towards progress and it cannot be achieved in days, it requires hard work.” “Like in the past, we will continue to support Pakistan in the future,” he said. “We can never forget the sacrifices made by the people of South Asia for the freedom of Turkey.” He thanked Pakistan for extending support when the earthquake had hit his country. “The way Pakistani nation helped us, I can never forget.”
Reiterating his support for the Kashmir cause, Erdogan said, “For Turkey, Kashmir is as [important as] it is for Pakistan.” “Our Kashmiri brethren have suffered a lot and the situation has now become worse.”
“The issue can only be resolved through justice and fairness. Such a solution will be in the interest of all the stakeholders and Turkey will continue to support peace and dialogue in this regard.” Erdogan criticised US President Donald Trump over the Middle East ‘Peace Plan’, and instead branded it a ‘takeover plan’. “No distance can build a wall between the hearts of believers. It is our duty to help the oppressed Muslims.” “The plan of the ‘deal of the century’ is not a peace project but in fact, a project for occupation.”