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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Jun 16, 2010

Turkey and the Arab States

The third Turkish-Arab Economic Forum was held in Istanbul (6/10/2010) and included 21 Arab states’ representatives. In the opening session, the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan condemned the Israeli attack on the International Flotilla, which lead to the killing of nine Turkish citizens. He said. “Are we going to remain silent over the murder of nine people? We can’t turn a blind eye to this banditry in international waters, this can’t continue as it is.” Also, Amr Moussa, the Chief Director of the Arab League, accused Israel of continued atrocity and assault in violation of human rights and international law and praised Turkey for challenging Israeli on its raids of the mercy mission (www.thedaillystar.com 6/11/2010).

The objective of the Turkish-Arab Economic Forum was to promote and expand trades and investments between Turkey and the Arab states. Negotiations between Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon have been going on for three years with the objective of creating a free trade and travel zone among citizens of these states.

The overall trades between Turkey and the other 22 Arab states has more than doubled over the past five years to reach $30 billion per year. One of the main factors behind Turkey’s new efforts to establish economic trade with its Arab neighbors is attributed to the decision of the European Common Market members, who have been putting obstacles in the way of admitting Turkey as a member. Turkey is still pushing for membership, but so far there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Pope Benedict the XVI pointed out publicly that Turkey is a Muslim country and Europe is Christian and that things should be kept this way. Such remarks reflect contradictions, since Turkey is a member of NATO.

Nevertheless, the Turkish prime minister is a very clever strategist. He views the Arab world with more than 350 million people as a potential market for Turkish products. AT the same time, the Arab oil producing countries with surplus financial funds might turn to a Muslim Turkey as a potential place for their investments.

At the end of the meeting, Turkey and 21 Arab states’ representatives issued a joint statement expressing grave concern and condemnation for the “Israeli aggression” on the aid ship. The statement said that Turkey and the Arab states would work together until Israel is held accountable and the siege on the Gaza Strip is lifted.

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