Syria, Turkey set to Boost Oil Ties
Turkey and Syria agreed in Ankara Monday to enhance cooperation in natural gas and oil projects in a further sign of improving relations between the two countries, reported the Guld Daily newspaper, quoting a statement by the Turkish energy ministry.
At the end of a four-day visit to Ankara, Syrian Petroleum Minister Maher Jamal and Turkish Energy Minister Cumhur Ersumer signed a declaration pledging to cooperate in the search and development of gas and oil reserves in the two countries, the statement said.
A bilateral working group was to be set up to develop co-operation in that field, said the paper, quoting the statement.
The two sides also agreed to encourage Turkish private companies to participate in gas and oil projects in Syria and to explore opportunities to boost bilateral oil trade.
In the first 11 months of 2000, Turkey had imported 1.7 million tons of crude oil from Syria, whose oil sales amount to some 60 percent of its exports, the statement said.
The two ministers also discussed a pipeline project between Syria, Egypt and Lebanon to transport Egyptian and Syrian natural gas to regional countries, including Turkey, and then to unspecified European states.
Relations between the neighboring countries have normalized since Syria, under a Turkish threat to use force, agreed in 1998 to expel Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan and his rebels, said CNN in an article published in November 2000.
The two sides, however, remain divided by issues including the use of water from cross-border rivers, and Syrian claims on the southern Turkish province of Hatay, said CNN -- Albawaba.com