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Minister Akar, Pakistani army chief discuss defense cooperation

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Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Pakistan’s army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa discussed a range of issues, including defense cooperation and regional security in a meeting on Saturday. The meeting was held at the army headquarters in Pakistan’s northeastern garrison city of Rawalpindi, the military’s media wing said in a statement. “During the meeting, matters of mutual interest including defense and security cooperation between both the countries and overall regional security situation were discussed,” the statement added. “Both reiterated the desire to further enhance bilateral relations including efforts for bringing peace and stability in the region,” it added. Akar also met his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif in the capital Islamabad. According to a statement by the Turkish Defense Ministry, Akar “emphasized the importance of further increasing the military cooperation between the two countries.” Akar visited Pakistan in connection with the launch of PNS Badr, the third ship under the framework of Turkey’s National Ship Project (MILGEM), held in the port city of Karachi on Friday. Last year, Turkey and Pakistan agreed to increase their cooperation in the military field, especially in training and the fight against terrorism. Ankara and Islamabad have strengthened bilateral defense and security cooperation in recent years. In October 2018, the Pakistan Navy commissioned a 17,000-ton fleet tanker built in collaboration with a Turkish defense company in Karachi. It was the largest warship ever constructed at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works. The project was completed in collaboration with the Turkish defense contractor STM. In July 2018, Ankara won a multibillion-dollar tender to supply four corvettes to the Pakistan Navy, in what was dubbed the largest-ever export deal in the Turkish defense industry’s history by then-Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli.

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