Syrian-Turkish relations.. mutual respect and continuous development in all fields, report

Syrian Arab News Agency (Link) - Fadi Allafi .Mazen Eyon (September 15, 2009)

Development in the Syrian-Turkish relations in the political, economic and social fields comes as a response to both countries' desire to expand and boost prospects of bilateral cooperation in the interest of the two countries as well as working together to find solutions to the Middle East problems and achieve just and comprehensive peace in the region.

The increasing political ties between the two countries opened future horizons before all joint work, particularly in fields of economy and investment. Mutual visits between officials in both countries have contributed to boosting the standing cooperation.

The state visit of President Bashar al-Assad to Turkey in January 2004 was a historic turning point in bilateral relations.

The President's successive visits to Turkey as well as the visits of Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Turkish Premier Recep Tayyeb Erdogan and other officials to Syria have opened the way wide to establish distinguished ties and achieve a remarkable move in all fields.

President al-Assad has stressed that Syrian-Turkish relations are based on truth and joint interests and challenges, while President Gul considered them as an example to be followed by other countries.

The Syrian-Turkish cooperation starts from various grounds, on top, the agreement of stances and viewpoints on the issues of the region and the necessity of realizing just and comprehensive peace according to the international legitimacy, Madrid Conference, the land-for-peace formula, the withdrawal of the Israeli occupation forces from the Occupied Syrian Golan to the line of June 4th 1967 and all the occupied Arab lands, guaranteeing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and the unity, security, stability and independence of Iraq.

Events have proved the correctness of the Syrian-Turkish vision towards international and regional changes and deep understanding of the problems of the region.

The Turkish stance regarding the Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip in 2008 and condemnation of this aggression was appreciated in the Arab street.

Turkey's efforts and mediation in the indirect peace negotiations between Syria and Israel confirmed Turkey's credibile stance.

On the other hand, the free trade zone agreement between Syria and Turkey, which came into effect in 2007, led to increasing the trade exchange volume between the two neighboring countries to nearly USD 2 billion in 2008, and is expected to reach USD 3 billion in 2009.

Regarding energy, the Syrian-Turkish cooperation expanded as Syria and Turkey inked by initials an understanding memo last August on connecting gas systems between the two countries.

The memo stipulates for the start of negotiations between the two sides on various issues, including a short-term agreement for selling and purchasing natural gas to deliver between 500 millions and 1 billion cubic meters of gas a year from Turkey to Syria starting from 2011 with an expansion possibility.