Turkey-Syria Relations

Turkey.Felicity Party,Mustafa Kamalak.jpg

The leader of Turkey's Felicity Party, Mustafa Kamalak, has warned that his country is the main target of the campaign against neighboring Syria.

Referring to the current developments in the Middle East, Kamalak also warned about “imperial powers' plots to disintegrate Turkey.”

Ankara has already been under fire for supporting Syrian insurgents and giving them arms. 

Turkish lawmaker Mevlut Dudu has accused the Turkish government of using ambulances to smuggle arms and ammunitions into Syria.

Dudu warned Ankara of the repercussions of arming insurgents, criticizing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for leading the country into a predicament by intervention in Syrian affairs. 

Meanwhile, a senior Iranian military official criticized Turkey and a number of other regional states for interfering in Syria's internal affairs. 

Chairman of Iran’s Armed Forces Chiefs of Staff Major General Hassan Firouzabadi denounced on Monday Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar for their support for the “the warmongering goals of the United States and the bloodshed” in Syria. 

On Thursday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate end to violence against civilians in Syria. 

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Damascus says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factor behind the unrest and deadly violence while the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings. 

The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the armed insurgents are foreign nationals. 





May 12, 2010

Turkey-Syria Relations Progressing

The Financial Times reports on Turkey's efforts to push forward on cultural and economic ties with its eastern neighbours, chief amongst them Syria:

Every Friday, tour buses pull up outside the Sanko Park shopping centre in Gaziantep, an industrial city near Turkey’s southern border with Syria.

They are Syrians coming from Aleppo – just a few hours drive over the border – to snap up electronic goods and shop in fashion chains, from Mango to Marks & Spencer, that are unavailable at home. They now make up about one in 20 of the 850,000 customers each month, spending an average of $120 a head and prompting the mall to open an office that will refund VAT on the spot.

“Syria is Turkey 20 years ago,” says Emin Berk, who runs a new office to encourage small business dealings between Gaziantep and Aleppo. “Gaziantep is the first stop out of Syria: it’s more developed and it has better shopping.”

The cross-border spending sprees are one of the most visible effects of a recent rapprochement between Turkey and Syria, part of Ankara’s drive to strengthen ties with its eastern neighbours, using trade and cultural links to increase its “soft power” in the Middle East.

The two countries scrapped visa requirements last autumn to seal their friendship – a striking reversal of the tension of earlier decades, when Turkey was suspected of planting bombs in Damascus in retaliation for Syria’s sheltering of Kurdish separatists. Landmines still pepper the border that tourists now cross freely, but the new allies are even holding joint military exercises.

Nor is Turkey’s aim purely diplomatic. Officials hope their country’s exporters will tap fresh markets, and create jobs in the poorest south-eastern regions of the country – where unemployment and poverty fuel a sense of grievance among ethnic Kurds, and government subsidies have so far had little effect in attracting investment.


'Turkey main target of anti-Syria campaign'

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