Turkey’s Foreign Trade Minister Kursat Tuzmen has announced plans to establish a Free Trade Zone (FTA) with Syria, creating commerce centers along the Turkish-Syrian border. The two sides are expected to finalize a deal on double taxation prevention and mutual investment during Syrian Prime Minister Mustapha Miro's visit to Ankara on July 29-30.
The call for bilateral cooperation follows a statement by Miro on July 28, that regional countries such as Turkey, Iran and Syria should fortify relations in order to defend against US efforts to restructure the Middle East.
Turkish-Syrian trade has risen significantly since 2001, climbing to $1.5 billion in 2003 compared to $800 million dollars two years ago, reported AFP.
Miro called for regional collaboration upon his arrival to Turkey, a longtime US ally currently under pressure to remain on Washington’s side. “The whole world knows about America's policy to establish a new order in the Middle East," Miro told Sabah. While supporting Turkey for its Western, secularist outlook, the US sees Syria as a supporter of terrorism.
Miro is the first Syrian prime minister to visit Turkey since 1986. Former enemies, Turkey and Syria came to the brink of war four years ago when Turkey threatened military action if Syria continued to shelter Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan and his militants. Tension eased in 1998 when Ocalan left Damascus and Syria signed a security cooperation accord with Turkey, opening the door to a thaw in relations and an exchange of visits. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )