Jordan, Turkey Best of Friends, Moving to Sustain Free Trade Deal

Published October 29th, 2018 - 08:09 GMT
Jordan's King Abdullah II (R) meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the royal palace in Amman on August 21, 2017. (AFP /Khalil Mazraawi)
Jordan's King Abdullah II (R) meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the royal palace in Amman on August 21, 2017. (AFP /Khalil Mazraawi)

Increased Jordanian-Turkish synergy will significantly help move towards a better Middle East and overcome common challenges in various arenas, Turkish Ambassador in Amman Mourad Karagoz said in an interview with The Jordan Times.

“Jordan and Turkey face common challenges. The two countries enjoy deep and distinguished ties and they need to join forces to work and cooperate for a better Middle East, a matter that will play a key role in fulfilling desired objectives,” the ambassador said on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic, which the embassy will mark on Monday.

The official proclamation of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk took place on October 29, 1923, when the name of the nation and its status as a republic were declared. A vote then took place in the Grand National Assembly and Ataturk was elected first president of the Republic of Turkey by a unanimous vote.

“We made big gains during the past 95 years in terms of democracy, economic growth, equality between men and women in Turkey… all successive government built on the successes and, today, Turkey is a democratic, secular social state governed by rule of law,” Karagoz added.

Turkey, which will celebrate the centennial of the proclamation of the republic in 2023, is working on several mega projects with the aim of becoming the 10th largest economy in the world by 2030. Currently, it is the world’s 13th largest economy, according to Karagoz.

Relations with Jordan are solid at all levels including people to people, the official said, adding that the two countries see eye to eye on various issues.

He noted that “intense negotiations” are underway between the two countries to keep in place the free trade agreement (FTA) between the countries.

“There are technical meetings ongoing and intense communications and exchange of views to reach a better amended version of the FTA that is based on a win-win situation, taking Jordan’s concerns into account,” the ambassador said.

In May 2018, Jordan sent Turkey an official notification of its intention to terminate the FTA as its benefit from the deal was not as desired and Jordan was “the underdog in the deal”.

“Since Jordan sent a letter in May, we have until November 21, after which the deal will be terminated. This is why we engaged in ambitious and serous efforts to keep the deal,” Karagoz said.

Trade exchange between the two countries reached $800 million in 2017.

On tourism, the ambassador said that 280,000 Jordanians visited Turkey in 2017, noting “many also bought properties in Turkey, especially in Istanbul, which is the last eastern point in Europe and the last western point in Asia”.

More than 20,000 Turkish nationals visited Jordan in 2017, “a modest number” that could be increased with more promotion, according to Karagoz.

“There is a need for more promotion of Jordan and not just in tourism but also in the fields of culture, music, culinary, heritage and art. We need to promote what Jordan offers in these areas,” he said, calling for concrete suggestions in this regard.

The ambassador noted that Jordan and Turkey see eye to eye on the Palestinian issue and the need for a two state solution, “the sole solution” that will lead to the creation of an independent state.

He highlighted Turkey’s support for Jordan’s role as the custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem, adding that the two countries share similar views on Syria, the war on terrorism and the necessity for stabilisation in Iraq. 

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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