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Construction of warships another milestone in Turkey-Pakistan relations: Erdogan

TURKEY: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that defence ties between Turkey and Pakistan have achieved another milestone after collaboration for the construction of warships under the Milgem project.

The Turkish president was speaking at the ground-breaking of the third of the four MILGEM corvettes for Pakistan Navy. Ambassador of Pakistan in Turkey Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi also accompanied the Turkish President.

Ambassador of Pakistan in Turkey Mohammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi also accompanied Erdogan at the groundbreaking of the third out of a total of four Milgem Ada-class corvettes for Pakistan Navy in Istanbul.

Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Mustafa Sentop, Minister of National Defence of Turkey Hulusi Akar, Chief of Turkish General Staff General Yasar Guler, Commander of Turkish Naval Forces Admiral Adnan Ozbal, and other dignitaries attended the ceremony that also marked the launching of I-class Turkish Navy ‘Istanbul’ frigate.

Speaking at the ceremony, President Erdogan said Pakistan is “our brotherly country with whom Turkey enjoys excellent relations”. He underscored that the defence collaboration for the construction of Milgem class warships was another milestone in Turkey-Pakistan defence ties.

Both Pakistan and Turkey were living in difficult geographical regions and both countries were facing similar challenges. He affirmed that Turkey would continue to support friendly and allied countries in the defence field, he added.

Referring to his visit to Pakistan in 2020, Erdogan said the two countries signed a Strategic Economic Framework that would provide the necessary institutional framework to further enhance bilateral ties.

All Turkish dignitaries who spoke at the ceremony hailed the Pakistan-Turkish brotherly relations and reiterated Turkey’s support to Pakistan on core issues of its national interest.

In 2018, the contract for four Milgem class corvettes for Pakistan Navy with concurrent Transfer of Technology (ToT) was signed with ASFAT Inc, a Turkish state-owned Defence contractor firm.

Two corvettes will be built in Turkey and the other two will be built in Pakistan, at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) — Pakistan Navy’s specialised shipbuilding division — that also involves technology transfer, according to the plan.

Milgem vessels are 99 metres long with a displacement capacity of 2,400 tonnes and can move at a speed of 29 nautical miles.

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