Islambad, Pakistan – Turkey strengthens multidimensional strategic relations with Pakistan. Qureshi, Cavusoglu agree to adopt joint strategy on issues of mutual interests at international level.

Pakistan and Turkey on Wednesday agreed to pursue a joint strategy on matters of mutual interests at the international level, according to Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry.

The agreement came during a meeting between Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Islamabad.

Cavusoglu arrived on his three-day official visit to Pakistan late Tuesday to participate in a trilateral meeting with his Pakistani and Azerbaijani counterparts.

The two countries’ top diplomats expressed satisfaction over current bilateral relations between Pakistan and Turkey and stressed the need for implementation of a Pakistan-Turkey Strategic Economic Framework at the earliest, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

Qureshi told his Turkish counterpart about human rights violations carried out by Indian forces in “the Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” and thanked Turkey for its unwavering support to Pakistan on the Kashmir dispute.

He also briefed Cavusoglu on his country’s conciliatory efforts to bring lasting peace in Afghanistan and said Pakistan will continue to support peace efforts to end the 19-year long conflict in the war-ravaged country.

“Shah Mehmood Qureshi welcomes similarities in views between the two countries at the international level” including the UN and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), read the statement.

The two foreign ministers agreed to adopt a joint strategy on issues of mutual interest at the international level and to make joint efforts to further strengthen bilateral cooperation.

Qureshi and Cavusoglu expressed deep concerns over growing international Islamophobia and vowed to adopt a joint strategy to protect Islamic values.

The Pakistani top diplomat also congratulated his Turkish counterpart over last summer’s natural gas discovery in the Black Sea.

For his part, the visiting foreign minister thanked Qureshi for Pakistan’s support and assistance on various Turkish issues.

Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – including two over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights groups, thousands of people have been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

In August 2019, the Indian government revoked Kashmir’s special constitutional status, ending the Himalayan valley’s autonomy. It was also split into two federally administered territories.

Simultaneously, it locked the region down, detained thousands of people, imposed movement restrictions, and enforced a communications blackout.

Akkuyu nuclear power plant

On the other hand, work proceeds on Turkey’s 1st nuclear power plant in Akkuyu.

Work on Turkey’s first nuclear power plant is proceeding as planned. The plant’s first reactor is scheduled to be operational by 2023, the 100th anniversary of the Turkish republic.

“We know how important 2023 is for Turkey. We are making serious efforts to complete the first unit by then,” said Sergey Butskikh, first deputy general manager and construction works director at the Akkuyu Nuclear A.Ş.

“It is a very ambitious but also achievable goal for us,” Butskikh said.

Elaborating on the latest developments at the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), he said works at the plant are being carried out simultaneously in all areas of the site.

Around 7,00 people are working on the giant project, which, he said, is approaching its target as new equipment reaches the site and new facilities are being built.

“Our work at the Akkuyu NPP this year has been on schedule,” Butskikh said. “Work continues in the areas of the first and second units as well as in almost all areas of the plant.”

“Preparatory work on the third unit is also in full swing,” he added.

Construction of the third unit is scheduled to begin in spring, said Kirill Komarov, first deputy director-general for corporate development and international business of Rosatom.

He made the comments after Turkey last week granted a construction license for the third unit of the Akkuyu NPP.

“We had a limited permit for activities to non-nuclear work. Now we plan to hold concrete pouring for the third unit next spring,” Komarov said.

An intergovernmental agreement was signed between Turkey and Russia in May 2010 for the Akkuyu NPP, the first nuclear plant in Turkey that will have four VVER-1200 power reactors with a total installed capacity of 4,800 megawatts (MW).

The plant’s groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 3, 2018, with the participation of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin via a videoconference call from Ankara.

“One of the important developments is that about a month ago, the four steam generators for the first unit arrived at the site,” said Butskikh, adding that the reactor pressure vessel has also reached the site.

“Another very important event will take place soon when the ember holder equipment for the second unit is installed,” he added.

Foundation pit for 4th unit

Butskikh said the equipment for the site was transported through the Eastern Cargo Terminal, which was completed last year. “The terminal has become an important logistics center through which the equipment will be delivered to the site.”

One of the most important events next year will be the process of placing and installing the reactor vessel in the designed position in the first unit, Butskikh said.

“This process is very important to us and the welding processes of the systems that allow heat evacuation from the nuclear reactor vessel are also very important,” he added.

The second unit’s reactor vessel also will be delivered to the site, he said. “Construction work will continue on the third unit and excavations of the foundation pit will begin for the fourth unit,” he added.

Rosatom filed all the necessary documents for the fourth unit in May, which will be the last license the company needs to obtain, Komarov said.

“Usually we have to wait a year to get a license, so we expect to get the license for the fourth unit sometime by the autumn of 2021,” he explained.

Butskikh also stressed that safety was the top priority. “We are building a nuclear power plant where safety is the highest priority. I am sure that our power plant will not be a cause for concern in any way throughout the entire operating process,” he said.