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Turkey to reconsider FTA with Jordan ‘to ensure balance’

Ankara will utilise Aqaba Port to access potential African importers, Cavusoglu says

By JT - Feb 20,2018 - Last updated at Feb 20,2018

His Majesty King Abdullah meets with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Amman on Monday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday reviewed with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu Jordanian-Turkish bilateral relations and the latest regional developments.

His Majesty stressed keenness to boost these relations and continue coordination on issues of concern to the Islamic nation and enhance security and stability of the region, a Royal Court statement said.

Talks also covered economic cooperation and trade between the two countries. 

Cavusoglu stressed that the Turkish government would revise the Jordanian-Turkish Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to facilitate the entry of Jordanian exports to Turkey.

The minister noted his country's keenness on utilising Aqaba Port as a regional hub for Turkish exports to various markets, including Africa.

They also touched on the challenges that face the Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem, and the Jordanian efforts to protect them under the Hashemite Custodianship.

In this regard, the Turkish minister stressed his country’s support for and appreciation of the role Jordan plays towards that end, under His Majesty’s leadership.

The King and the minister also discussed developments in the Syrian crisis, stressing the importance of reaching a political solution on the basis of the Geneva understandings to ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, the King’s Office Director Jafar Hassan, National Policies Council Rapporteur Abdullah Wreikat and the Turkish Ambassador in Amman Murat Karagoz attended the meeting.

Also on Monday, Safadi held talks with Cavusoglu on mechanisms to enhance bilateral ties as well as regional developments, mainly the Palestinian issue and the Syrian crisis.

During the discussions at the Foreign Ministry in Amman, both ministers agreed to work on agreements related to free trade between Jordan and Turkey to address shortcomings in the current situation, according to a ministry statement.

Relying the findings of a study by the Amman Chamber of Commerce last year, business leaders called for revisiting the Jordan-Turkish FTA, noting that trade balance was heavily in favour of Turkey. 

They also voiced keenness to develop bilateral ties, especially as both countries mark the 71st anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations.

The two ministers reiterated the centrality of the Palestinian cause and stressed the importance of intensifying efforts aimed at restoring the Palestinians’ rights to freedom and statehood within the June 4, 1967, lines and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

At a joint press conference, Safadi commended both countries’ continuous coordination in efforts to address regional crises, achieve security and stability and develop regional ties based on mutual respect among the countries of the region and ensuring respect to the principle of non-interference in other countries’ affairs.

For his part, Cavusoglu said that bilateral relations must develop at all levels, voicing Turkey’s keen interest in preserving Jordan’s stability and development.

As for the trade exchange, the visiting minister noted that necessary procedures will be taken to balance the commercial exchange rate that currently stands in favour of Ankara.

On the latest developments in the Palestinian arena, he said that both countries fully share the same view on Jerusalem and the “wrong” US decision on the holy city.

He added that His Majesty’s participation in the recent Istanbul-hosted summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation was “highly important” for Turkey, confirming his country’s respect for the role of King Abdullah as the custodian of holy sites in Jerusalem. 

Regarding the Syrian crisis, he said that both countries believe in peace and in maintaining the unity of Syria, adding that Turkey does not have any “hidden” agendas in Syria, where its fight against Kurdish forces is seen as a threat to its national security.

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