8 million Kashmiris forced to live in open-air prison: Erdogan

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ISLAMABAD: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan termed the brotherly Pakistan-Turkey relations as exemplary and said that great potential exists for collaboration between the two countries in the field of defence production.

The Turkish president made the remarks at ​Steel Cutting Ceremony of 1st ship of MILGEM Class Corvettes being constructed for Pakistan Navy.

The ceremony was held at Istanbul Naval Shipyard, Turkey.

While highlighting the situation in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir, President Erdogan said the world needs to know about the sufferings of the Kashmiri people.

Equating Kashmir with Palestine, President Erdogan further said that over 8 million Kashmiris are living in an open-air prison in their own lands facing brutalities of the occupation forces with great courage.

Earlier, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi in his opening speech termed this project as another testimony of the Pakistan-Turkey brotherhood.

While updating the audience about the situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir, he mentioned the toxic Hindutva ideology of India and the threat it poses to regional and international peace.

He said that Indian brutalities have reached to new levels after the 5th August 19 illegal actions of the Indian government which are in contravention to the UN Security Council resolutions. Admiral Abbasi thanked President Erdogan for raising Kashmir issue in his address at the United National General Assembly in New York saying the people of Pakistan and Kashmir are indebted to Turkey for its steadfast support.

Chief of the Naval Staff also acknowledged the commitment and dedication of ASFAT’s (Askeri Fabrika ve Tersane İşletme – Military Factory and Shipyard Management) team and expressed gratitude to the Turkish Ministry of National Defence and Turkish Navy for the support extended by them in this important program.

Today’s ceremony ushered in a new chapter in defence friendship between Pakistan and Turkey and is a major milestone towards induction of state-of-the-art Corvettes in Pakistan Navy. Once constructed, the MILGEM Class Corvettes will be one of the most technologically advanced surface platforms of Pakistan Navy Fleet, fitted with latest weapons, sensors, command and control systems. These ships will significantly contribute in enhancing Pakistan Navy’s capability in maintaining peace and security in our area of responsibility (AOR). Contract for construction of four MILGEM Class Corvettes has been signed with Turkey. Two of the four Corvettes will be built in Turkey while the other two will be built in Pakistan under the transfer of technology programme.