Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reportedly announced that his country has started construction of a warship set to be sold to the Pakistan Navy.

Erdogan made the announcement on Sunday while attending a dual ceremony to commission the new Turkish naval ship TCG Kinaliada and the MILGEM (Turkish national warship programme)-class ship for Pakistan, state-run Anadolu News Agency reported.

Turkey is one of 10 countries worldwide able to build, design, and maintain warships using its own national capabilities, the President said, adding that he hoped that Pakistan would benefit from the ship whose construction started on Sunday.

“Our navy, rich with glorious victories, is carrying this legacy into the future by further strengthening it,” said Erdogan.

Its top-class “equipment, discipline, qualified personnel and all the accomplishments it undertakes” make Turkey proud, he added.

In July 2018, the Pakistan Navy signed a contract for the acquisition of four MILGEM-class ships, which can be hidden from the radar, from Turkey.

Pakistan Navy Commander Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi and Erdogan cut the first metal plate of the first of the four MILGEM Ada class corvette during the ceremony.

While two corvettes will be built in Turkey, the next two will be built in Pakistan through technology transfer.

Erdogan told the audience that Pakistan-Turkey relations had great potential for cooperation in the field of defence production.

MILGEM vessels are 99 metres long, have a displacement capacity of 24,00 tons and a speed of 29 nautical miles.

Turkey has had friendly relations with Pakistan and has also supported the “sister nation” on the Kashmir issue.

Turkey President Erdogan has said that he will continue to flag the Kashmir issue on the world stage.  Erdogan said the world should know the sufferings in Kashmir. He likened the situation in Kashmir to Palestine and added that “more than eight million Kashmiris are braving Indian atrocities in an open-air prison on their territory”.

He also termed the relations between Pakistan and Turkey as “exemplary”, saying great potential existed for collaboration in the defence sector.

This comes days after he raised the issue at UNGA in New York.

Erdogan had in his address said that despite the UN resolutions, “eight million people are stuck” in Kashmir. He had called for the Kashmir issue to be solved through dialogue rather than conflict and criticised the international community for failing to pay attention to the issue.

(With inputs from IANS)