12/25/2009

Turkey and Syria move towards economic integration

 

Dunya – Turkey’s relations with its southern neighbor Syria are improving at every level. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent visit to Syrian capital Damascus marks the beginning of a new era of cooperation between the two countries.

 

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan began his official talks in Syria after a welcoming ceremony in Damascus. Erdogan met with his Syrian counterpart Muhammad Naji al-Otri after the ceremony, and the two later co-chaired the first prime ministerial-level meeting of the Turkey-Syria High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council. A number of Cabinet ministers also attended, including Internal Affairs Minister Besir Atalay and Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and their Syrian counterparts.

 

Syrian President Bashar Assad also attended the landmark gathering. "Turkey sees Syria as a gateway to the Middle Eastern markets of 320 million people", Erdogan told during the meeting. Following the meeting, 51 official documents were signed in various areas, with an eye to deepening bilateral ties and economic integration between the two countries.

 

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Erdogan said, "We can consider today's meeting the first milestone on a long road. We can cooperate in such areas as transportation, economy, commerce, security, local administrations, energy, water, environment, culture, education and urban transformation." For his part, al-Otri said the meeting had been fruitful. "Our goal is to contribute to the economies of our countries", he stressed.

ENGLISH