Jordan and Turkey… Syria Breaks or Makes It!

By: fahed Al Khitan

تم نشره في Mon 28 March / Mar 2016. 10:12 PM
  • فهد الخيطان

Jordanian Turkish relations were indeed better in the past. But looking into the future, restoring them is not without hope.

Before the tides of change swept through the Arab World, relations between the two countries were rapidly developing, in all fields and aspects, in spite of disparities on some issues: Commercial ties grew significantly and an FTA was signed between the Jordan and Turkey, later expanded to include Syria and Lebanon.

The “Arab Spring” stormed all bilateral ties in the region; taking down alliances and coalitions, and damaging the very cores of old friendships.

Jordanian Turkish relations were affected by what happened and what is currently taking place in Egypt, then Syria; the link between the two countries, through which Jordanians and Turks bartered trades, merchandise, agricultural produce, and land trips back and forth. Cooperation plans set out between countries of the area carried great aspiration; electrical and train track linkage projects, rapid transportation lanes, and meanwhile, Jordan had tendered its largest water project to a Turkish company; the Disi Water Conveyance Project.

Syria, is the “make or break” link in the Jordan-Turkey relation, which cannot be restored without the retention of a stable, unified, safe Syria.

Over the 5 years the Syrian crisis has endured, the two countries’ agendas converged and dispersed in accordance to developments and anticipations; converging on the need for reformation in Syria, cooperation in the Refugee regards, and the support of Syrian choices. Contrarily, they dispersed on means and methods, and more so on the future direction of the Syrian state. And in the latter regards, there are many undisclosed, unsolicited details.

Nonetheless, ties did not sever on all levels between Jordan and Turkey. Security coordination still stands, despite its being a little off sometimes. Trade and commerce between the two suffered immensely with the deterioration of the security situation in Syria and the closure of crossings North and South of Syria.

Terrorism is a worrying ordeal for the two countries. Typically, this concern could have outlined an opportunity for further possible, ambitious cooperation, and would have made considerable advancements possible. Jordan was among the first-movers to condemn terrorist attacks on Turkey, regardless assailants; were they ISIS or radical Kurdish groups. But the definition of terrorism in Syria remained argumentative; publically undisclosed beyond the closed doors of exclusive international and regional meets.

Jordan would not be dragged into uncalculated adventures in Syria, and its administration persisted on a clear, honest approach highlighting the vitality of defeating terrorism and supporting political resolution in Jordan and Turkey’s neighbouring country —Syria. This, on the other hand, was not accounted to regional and international players, which drove disparity in agendas and motions among them.

Through it all, today, it is confirmed to be the right way out for Syria and the region of its suffocating crises. Let the fate of the Syrian regime be decided by the Syrians, as we push conflicting parties to negotiate wards a political solution, while relentlessly striking down terrorism.

Is this not the basis on which the Geneva process was built?

Recently, Turkey made some progressive advancement in support of this discourse —which was previously adopted and pursued by Jordan, to be transformed into a reality today by will of Russian and American sponsors; aligning everyone behind this approach.

Consequentially, this moment comprises an opportunity to restore Jordanian-Turkish momentum. And the Turkish Premiere’s visit, Ahmet Davutoğlu, to Amman shows the rising convergence of views along the givens of the new phase and its requirements.

The manoeuvring margin is defused, and here stands Syria —having once severed allies from one another, bringing them back together.