ISTANBUL—Turkey and the Arab countries of Syria, Jordan and Lebanon have decided to establish a cooperation council to create “a zone of free movement of goods and persons” among them, Associated Press reported.
They invite all other interested countries to join what Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said shouldn’t be seen as an alternative to the European Union.
Mr. Davutoglu said Turkey is still eager to join the EU but that the bloc “cannot and should not restrict [Turkey’s] relations with its neighbors.”
The deal was signed on June 10 during the Turkish-Arab Economic Forum, where officials from Arab nations burst into applause as Turkey’s prime minister walked to the podium. Turkey’s popularity in the Middle East has risen amid disputes over Israel’s Gaza blockade and United Nations sanctions against Iran.
Armenian Young Professonals conference Canceled
The AGBU’s Middle East Young Professionals Forum was supposed to take place in Amman, Jordan from June 3-6. However, the meeting was quietly canceled by the Jordanian authorities just the night before, reported the Armenian Weekly.
The cancelation seems to be directly connected to the signing of the deal on June 10. For more details, read Talin Suciyan’s piece here.