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Jordanian-Turkish relations

Aug 21,2017 - Last updated at Aug 21,2017

Jordan’s newspapers covered the news about the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Jordan. The Jordan Times distinguished itself with excellent background information and analysis on the history and development of the bilateral relations and their current modus operandi. 

Seventy years ago, in 1947, Jordan and Turkey started their diplomatic relations, opening embassies in each country’s capital. The Turkish embassy was opened first.

Both countries lost two leading prime ministers who believed in the Baghdad Pact, which included four countries:  Jordan, Baghdad, Iran and Iraq.

Adnan Menderes was hanged by the military junta after the coup d’êtat that ended his decade-long premiership 1960. Hazza’ Al Majali was assassinated while serving his second-term as prime minister in August 1960.

The region at the time was shifting from British domination to the emerging American sphere of influence. 

During the 1960s, most countries that had been dominated by the British exited from the sterling to the dollar zone and created central banks instead of monetary or currency boards.

The late King Abdullah I visited Turkey three times: in 1937, 1947 and 1951. The late King Hussein visited Turkey a number of times. King Abdullah II also visited Turkey in 2004.

The continuous visits of officials from both countries are testimony to the degree of warmth between them.

On the peoples’ side, Turkey seems to be a very popular destination for Jordanians.

Other than the fact that there are no visa requirements, Jordanians find the atmosphere in Turkey to be very friendly and economically inviting.

Trade between the two countries surmounted the closure of Syrian borders, and trade (mostly to Turkey’s advantage) actually mushroomed.

Consumer goods produced in Turkey are qualitatively and price-wise convenient.

Many Jordanians find Turkey’s airports, especially Istanbul’s, to be very convenient to travel to farther destinations in the world. The Turkish Airlines are among the biggest and most efficient in the world.

Although Arabs and Turks were not on very good terms in the two centuries preceding the end of World War I, relations recovered their warmth over the past 70 years.

Turkey opened its universities to thousands of Jordanian students who eventually learned Turkish, married Turkish women and have a special place for Turkey in their hearts.

Recently, the onslaught of Turkish drama and soap operas helped create new perceptions about beautiful Turkish people, clean streets and families tackling daily problems, which resonates deeply with Jordanian families.

Sure, Erdogan’s visit is purely political, but it will certainly carry some weight in determining Jordan’s future options.



The writer is a former Royal Court chief, deputy prime minister and member of Senate. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.

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