Erdogan’s visit to further boost Jordanian-Turkish ties

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His Majesty King Abdullah receives Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at Al-Husseiniya Palace on August 21, 2017. (Photo: Royal Court)
AMMAN — Jordanian-Turkish ties ought to witness a remarkable development that can only strengthen their historical relationship, further benefit their economic and political interests, and align their positions vis-à-vis major regional and international conflicts, political and economic analysts say. اضافة اعلان

The relations between the two countries go back to the 1930s, when King Abdullah I made the first official visit by an Arab leader to the Turkish Republic and was received by the then Turkish president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Political relationship

Political analyst and columnist Amer Al-Sabaileh told Jordan News that Jordan perceives Turkey as a significant player in the region, where it plays a vital role in many regional issues, including the Syrian and Palestinian conflicts.

He said that the relationship had improved since the Arab Spring, when Jordan had a clear position against Turkish politics regarding the support for the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt and the Qatar blockade.

“For two years, there have been attempts to bring Turkish-Jordanian relations closer. The change in the relationship between the UAE and Turkey enabled Jordan to take another step forward in this relation,” Sabaileh said.

Turkey can now play a role in calming the situation in West Bank and Gaza, he claimed, where escalations are expected due to the constant Israeli violations of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Former State Minister for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani told Jordan News that there is a” robust political engagement” between Jordan and Turkey, which agree on different issues that can strengthen  stability in the Middle East.

Momani believes that the Turkish president’s visit, slated for the middle of this week, will clarify many pending issues, especially at economic level, since there is room for stronger economic collaboration, including through “the ambitious long-term plan to start a Turkish industrial zone in Al-Mafraq area, in addition to renegotiating the free trade agreement”.

“Jordan sees that there can be a constructive Turkish role in the region, and we value the exchange of ideas regarding the Palestinian and other issues that affect peace and security regionally and globally,” Momani said.

Political writer and analyst Hamadeh Faraneh told Jordan News that the visit comes at a time many “vital issues” are happening on the regional and global political scene.

According to him, Jordan and Turkey have common interests in the Russian-Ukrainian, Syrian conflict, and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. He said the leaders of the two countries are expected to further their collaboration in these matters, especially after the recent visit of the Israeli president to both countries, and in light of the expected escalations in Gaza and the West Bank.

Faraneh also expects Jordan to encourage Turkey to change its hostile position toward the Syrian regime.

He also said that Erdogan will possibly squander rumors about Turkey’s ambition to become the legal guardian of the Islamic sites in Jerusalem, over which the Hashemites have custody.

Economic relationship

Political economy specialist Zayyan Zawaneh told Jordan News that the Jordanian-Turkish relations are “based on decades of proven solidity and observance of the two countries’ interests, even in the most delicate stages”, adding that the balance of trade has always tilted in Turkey’s favor.

According to Zawaneh, the two countries should strengthen their economic collaboration and “encourage investment in many booming sectors such as technology, mining, agriculture, construction, defense, transportation, and tourism, which would pave the way for deepening the common interest”.

Economic analyst Mazen Irsheid told Jordan News that over the past 12 years, the balance of trade between the two countries was clearly in Turkey’s favour, as its exports to Jordan stood at 90 percent. However, he noted that Jordan’s exports to Turkey have increased by 10 percent in the past three years, which is why the free trade agreement failed and “could be revived now”.

“It is positive that Turkey allowed more Jordanian exports. However, Turkey is an industrial country and cannot be compared to Jordan, so it makes sense that the balance of trade is leaning toward Turkey,” Irsheid said.

He added that Jordan should collaborate with Turkey in significant sectors, like renewable energy and food, so it can benefit from Turkish expertise.

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