Turkey's ambassador to Pakistan expressed concern Thursday over mounting Islamophobia in Western countries where Muslims are facing harassment and discrimination.
Speaking at an international conference in Islamabad on the "Significance of Regional Connectivity for Shared Prosperity," Mustafa Yurdakul said Turkey and Pakistan are raising their voices against this trend in the world.
"We have a bigger issue at hand: That is Islamophobia. Unfortunately, this is a growing trend around the world, especially in European countries and the West," he said.
"Where the Muslim population, minorities who are simple workers, are just trying to earn a living, each and every passing day, they are facing increasing difficulties, harassment [and] discrimination."
The conference was organized by the Center for Global and Strategic Studies, an Islamabad-based think tank, in collaboration with Bahria University in Islamabad.
Yurdakul praised his country's President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan for raising their voices against the growing Islamophobia and discrimination against Muslims in those countries.
"I'm very happy that our President Erdogan and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan are raising their voices against this challenge," he said.
He warned that if this negative trend continues, it could affect the overall security, stability and harmony in all our societies.
The ambassador also spoke on bilateral relations between Turkey and Pakistan and said the relationship between the two brotherly countries is based on a very strong bond.
"The friendship and bond between Turkey and Pakistan is important for the stability and well-being of the whole region," he maintained.
Regarding the connectivity of the region, Yurdakul said Turkey has spent over $100 billion in the last 15 years on connectivity projects, and Turkey is now well connected with other countries through projects like the new Istanbul Airport and Kars-Baku-Tbilisi railway, and thus the Middle Corridor is extending to the east. He added that with a four-hour flight from Istanbul, a US$24 trillion GDP is within reach in Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia.
"Connectivity is always a very dear subject for Turkey, and I will say [this] because we discovered the importance of this subject long before it hit the headlines around the world," he added.
The ambassadors of the Central Asian Republic and other countries also spoke on the occasion.