Politics 10:38 11/04/2018 Armenia

Why Turkey accepted Jordan’s demand to revise their Free Trade Agreement?

By Harut Sassounian, Publisher, The California Courier

Before the recent turmoil in relations between Turkey and several countries in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, Syria and Jordan had signed a Free Trade Agreement and visa-free travel with Turkey hoping to benefit from its growing economy.

Relations between Syria and Turkey quickly deteriorated starting in 2011 when Turkey supported Islamic Jihadists undermining the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Earlier this year, going a step further, Turkey brazenly invaded Northern Syria, occupying the town of Afrin and announcing the intention to expand its invasion.

Consequently, the mutual trade agreement and visa-free travel between Turkey and Syria were cancelled. Recently, Jordan suspended its own trade agreement with Turkey, after warning repeatedly that it was one-sided and benefited Turkey much more than Jordan. Turkish exports to Jordan in 2016 amounted to $710 million, whereas Jordan’s exports to Turkey totaled only $102 million.

Jordan pledged to reactivate the agreement if Turkey agreed to certain revisions, including “the Turkish side’s consent to protection measures Jordan will design to protect local industries, increasing Turkish technical assistance to Jordan as stipulated by the FTA [Free Trade Agreement], and reconsidering the ‘strict’ rules of origin specifications applied by Turkey,” according to The Jordan Times.

Surprisingly, Turkey consented to renegotiate the Free Trade Agreement which was signed in 2011. This was a departure from Turkey’s usual aggressive tactic to threaten and bully both friends and opponents to submit to its wishes.

The government of Jordan should be commended for its tough stand in defense of its interests, despite the fact that, in recent months, several developments had strengthened Turkey-Jordan relations. Both countries vehemently criticized Pres. Trump’s recent decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. On Feb. 21, the two countries also signed a military cooperation agreement. Furthermore, Turkey had agreed to “exempt 500 Jordanian goods from customs duties,” according to the Al-Monitor news website.

Prof. Pinar Tremblay, in an Al-Monitor article analyzed the four factors that would impact the renegotiation of the Turkish-Jordanian trade agreement.

The first obstacle is the displeasure of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt with Turkey for supporting their antagonist Qatar. Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman went as far as calling Turkey a member of the “Triangle of Evil” along with Islamic militants and Iran! The anti-Turkish posture of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt puts pressure on Jordan to be more cautious in its relations with Turkey. The reason Turkey is trying to accommodate Jordan is to break out of its isolation from major Sunni Arab countries.

The second obstacle is most Sunni leaders’ hostility towards Iran. This antagonism spills over the resentment of Turkey by Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt due to persistent Turkish relations with Iran. Turkey is trying to boost its relations with Jordan, because of its need for allies in the Arab world. In recent years, Turkish President Erdogan has aspired to become the leader of Sunni Muslims rivaling Saudi Arabia, the home of Islam’s two holy sanctuaries: Mecca and Medina.

The third obstacle is Saudi Arabia’s desire to spread its influence over the Arab world opposing Turkish expansionist policies. That is why Saudi Arabia and Turkey are competing for the friendship of the Kingdom of Jordan, among others. Tremblay reported that “at the end of December, Turkey acquired a 99-year lease from Sudan for Suakin Island, increasing Turkey's presence in the Red Sea. This move has unnerved the countries that identify themselves as ‘the Arab Anti-Terror Quartet’ (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain). Turkey’s relations with African nations are flourishing. Not everyone is happy about such developments, and this could cause problems for Turkish-Jordanian relations.”

Prof. Tremblay described the fourth challenge as financial: “Turkey wants Jordanian markets but faces roadblocks posed by Gulf countries. Since March 2016, Turkey and Jordan have been trying to plan, without success, a maritime route between Turkish ports (Iskenderun) and Jordan's port of Aqaba to reach out to Gulf markets. Yet without political compromises, economic cooperation does not seem sustainable in the region. Turkish Airlines restarted direct flights March 19 between Istanbul and Aqaba. Intriguingly, also in March, the Saudi crown prince was in Cairo discussing the proposed multibillion-dollar King Salman Bridge to link Egypt and Saudi Arabia through the entrance of the Gulf of Aqaba; some see this as a reaction to the Aqaba flights and the maritime route project. During his March 12 visit to the Jordanian capital of Amman, the UAE foreign minister reportedly promised to help Jordan with its various economic challenges and establish stronger regional ties. Turkey believes these developments are behind Jordan's suspension of the free trade agreement. Jordanian business people and analysts concur that the UAE and Saudi Arabia had a hand in the suspension decision.”

Tremblay concluded that “Turkey desperately needs to diversify its opportunities in foreign policy. Repeated mistakes and costly failures have significantly limited Turkish foreign policy options in the past. In the past decade, Turkey’s ambitions and rhetoric have not matched its capabilities and achievements. Yet in regard to the free trade agreement with Jordan, Ankara is not only determined but also well-organized. If Turkey can overcome the obstacles outlined, a free trade agreement revision would indeed be a win for Ankara.”



Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:

Newsfeed

18:46
World Bank: Water quality crisis a global health challenge
The World Bank has warned that poor water quality is becoming a global threat to humans and environmental well-being. The recent report...
18:30
U.S. Armenians sue Turkey to visit their native land without a passport
A unique lawsuit, not based on the Armenian Genocide, was filed on May 29, 2019, by two Armenian-Americans against the Turkish government in the...
18:07
Artsakh president discusses development of the mining industry in the country
Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan received today famed geologist from Russia Sergey Vardanyan to discuss issues on the development of the mining...
17:50
Irish carrier RyanAir set to enter Armenia’s air market
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan received Irish RyanAir carrier’s Chief Commercial Officer David O’Brien and Route...
17:29
Italy government crisis: PM Conte quits amid coalition row
taly's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has resigned following a blistering attack on coalition partner Matteo Salvini. BBC reported, Mr Conte...
17:08
Earthquake recorded near Ashotsk village in north of Armenia
An earthquake of 2.8 magnitude was registered 9 km northeast of Ashotsk village of Armenia’s on Wednesday at about 14:20 (GMT 10:20),...
16:40
OSCE monitoring of the Artsakh contact line passed as scheduled
The OSCE Mission conducted a planned monitoring of the ceasefire regime on the Line of Contact between the armed forces of Artsakh and...
16:35
Kocharyan’s supporters hold protest outside the Italian and French embassies
The supporters of Armenian ex-president Robert Kocharyan, who is in custody with charges for overturning the countries constitutional order, are...
16:06
Spanish Olympic Committee launches a shared digital library
Spanish Olympic Committee has invited the NOCs of Europe to Madid to introduce CONPaas – a new digital platform for accessible services...
15:47
Government sends Amulsar audit report to the ministry of environment for further assessment
The Government of Armenia has sent the audit report of the latest independent environmental impact report by ELARD consultancy group to assess...
14:43
Independent Artsakh 28
Dear readers, a flash mob entitled “Intendent Artsakh 28” is organized ahead of the 28th anniversary of the Artsakh Republic...
13:57
Artsakh president sends congratulatory message to Catholicos of All Armenians
Artsakh Republic President Bako Sahakyan sent today a message of congratulations to His Holiness Garegin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of...
13:32
Sinquefield Cup 2019: Aronian loses to Caruana
Leading player of the Armenia chess team Levon Aronian lost the game to Fabiano Caruana at the Round 4 of Sinquefield Cup underway in Saint...
13:03
Less water volumes taken from Lake Sevan this year – Pashinyan
As of August 12 this year, water volumes taken up from Lake Sevan are 51 million cubic meters less to compare with the same period last year,...
12:18
ARF-Dashnaktsutyun calls for referendum on Amulsar exploitation
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Dashnaktsutyun Bureau has released a statement over the possible exploitation of Amulsar gold mine,...
11:38
Let Tigran the Great be kindly remembered
Tigran the Great established the Armenian Empire on all four sides to show the significance of all of them. The one was in Artsakh. What...
10:29
Shant Khachatryan: I’m sure my next medal will be gold
Wrestler Shant Khachatryan at 67 kg became a silver medalist at the World Wrestling Junior Championship. In a conversation with the ANOC press...
18:30
MES warns against a high risk of fire in the valleys and foothills of Armenia
Armenia’s ministry of emergency situations reports about a high risk of fire predicted in the valleys and foothills of the republic over...
18:05
Police: 65 cases of crime detected over the past day
According to the operations reports of Police of the Republic of Armenia, 65 cases of crime were detected by officers of various police...
17:51
Iranian FM Zarif to visit Macron in France
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is expected to visit Paris and meet with his counterpart and the French president on Friday,...
17:36
Kalavan resident Robert Ghukasyan appointed adviser to PM Pashinyan
Armenian Kalavan village resident Robert Ghukasyan has been appointed as advisor to Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan. “As agreed earlier, I...
17:22
No specific plans yet for Putin - Zelensky meeting— Kremlin
There are no specific plans so far for a new Normandy format meeting and a potential date for contacts between Russian President Vladimir Putin...
16:11
Yerevan court denies bail for Manvel Grigoryan
The Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction under presiding judge Mnatsakan Martirosyan, fully rejected on Tuesday another defense motion of the...
15:36
Italian parliament to vote on PM Conte today
The Italian parliament will hold a confidence vote on the government of prime minister Giuseppe Conte today after deputy prime minister and...
14:52
Armenia to take part in World Championship with 9 weightlifters
From September 18 to 27 Thailand’s Pattaya will host the World Weightlifting Championship. Head coach of the Armenia weightlifting team...
14:00
Artsakh Ombudsman hopes ICRC Mission will defend the rights of Armenian serviceman in Azerbaijan
  Artsakh Republic Ombudsman Artak Beglaryan has welcomed the report that the representatives of the International Committee of the Red...
13:09
Armenian Wounded Heroes Fund calls for donation to a disabled soldier
Armenian Wounded Heroes Fund has called for a support of a wounded soldier in April war to pass a sex-week therapy to walk normally. In a...
13:00
OSCE monitoring to be conducted in the Omar pass
In accordance with the arrangement reached with the authorities of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, the OSCE Mission will conduct օn August 21 a...
12:34
Sinquefield Cup: Levon Aronian shares point with Viswanathan Anand
Levon Aronian, the leading player of the Armenia national team, registered his third draw at the Sinquefield Cup being held in Saint Louise,...
12:04
Japanese student looks for a host family in Yerevan to explore Armenia
As student of UWC Dilijan, Japanese Kento Suzuki is looking for a host family in Yerevan. In a Facebook post, the Japanese writes that during...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}