Speaking to Today's Zaman at an event called "Pakistan Night" late on Tuesday, which was sponsored by the Consulate General of Pakistan in İstanbul as part of Pakistan Cultural Week to promote Pakistani culture in Turkey and to contribute to the further development of Turkish-Pakistani ties, Shaukat said there is currently a $1 billion trade volume between the countries but noted that both governments need to put their private sectors in touch with one another and create a framework to facilitate business. He said that since Pakistan is the world's 16th most populous country and Turkey is the 16th biggest economy, there are numerous business opportunities for both sides.
"The Pakistani people have a natural affinity for Turkish people; our economy is listed in the next 11 countries after the BRIC economies; and we are neighbors to China, India and Iran," said the ambassador, adding that Pakistan is a "sleeping giant" in the region.
Noting that Pakistan is the first country with which Turkey started conducting trade in local currencies, he talked about the opportunities for Turkish businesses in Pakistan in the construction and energy sectors, which Pakistan is looking to improve further since the country offers vast opportunities for these types of projects. "Turkey and Pakistan both have strong textile sectors, and instead of competing, the countries can partner up to create powerful alliances," he said, adding, "Being a big milk-producing country, Pakistan has great potential for even further growth in the dairy market as well."
At the event, activities introducing many elements of Pakistani culture, including music, food and fashion, were presented. The event was the first of its kind initiated by Pakistan in Turkey.