ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the leadership of Pakistan and Turkey was committed to further strengthening their historic and longstanding bilateral ties for the benefit of their people. In an exclusive interview with TRT’s Head of Urdu service Dr. Furqan Hameed in Ankara, the prime minister said Pakistan and Turkey were one nation, living in two countries. PM Shehbaz said Pakistan and Turkey were connected for centuries with their roots anchored in common faith, shared history, and glorious tradition of mutual understanding and brotherhood. Calling the Pak-Turk ties ‘unique’, he said: “There is no other example like this in the world”. The prime minister mentioned that his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his cabinet paved the way for setting the target of increasing bilateral trade volume to $5 billion in the next three years. He expressed confidence that the trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Turkey would strengthen through joint collaboration and commitment. Regretting that the centuries-old relationship between Pakistan and Turkey did not reflect in the area of trade, he pointed out that currently, the trade volume between the two countries only touched $1.1 billion dollars in the last 75 years. Shehbaz Sharif expressed the desire to boost ties with Turkey in the field of tourism and vowed to take the existing relations to new heights of excellence. He recalled how the relations between Pakistan and Turkey grew while he was the Chief Minister of Punjab. The prime minister said his government would remove hurdles in collaboration with Turkey in diverse fields for the mutual development of both countries. PM Shehbaz termed President Erdogan his “very kind and close friend”, who telephoned him to felicitate him on assuming the office of the prime minister. “This is an expression of President Erdogan’s deep love and I am personally grateful to him. The entire Pakistani nation loves President Erdogan,” he said.