Syria's Assad says West moving away from Turkey

Turkey has since boosted its ties and trade with Arab countries, lifting visa restrictions for citizens of several nations including Syria.

Syria's Assad says West moving away from Turkey

Turkey is playing an increasingly important role for regional stability as Western powers distance themselves from the emerging nation, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in a newspaper on Tuesday.

Asked if he felt Turkey was moving away from the West, NATO and the United States in favour of Muslim countries, Assad told Germany's mass-selling Bild daily that he felt the responsibility lay elsewhere.

"I'd say rather that the West is moving away from Turkey," he said in an interview.

Turkey has since boosted its ties and trade with Arab countries, lifting visa restrictions for citizens of several nations including Syria. Ankara aims to create a free trade zone without visa restrictions with Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

"I believe the role that Turkey has been playing in the region for the past three years is important," Assad said. "It has brought a certain balance to this turbulent region."

Turning to Turkey's stalled bid to join the European Union, Assad said the bloc should match its ideals of openness and cultural dialogue by admitting the country.

"You must ask Turkey straightforwardly to join the EU, because an Islamic country is needed so the EU does not become a Christians-only club," he said.

Turkey's President Abdullah Gul, who has said he is frustrated by barriers to EU membership, told Reuters in an interview that Ankara was now building closer ties with Russia and Central Asian states where Turkish business is flourishing.


Agencies

Last Mod: 21 Aralık 2010, 16:43
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Tughluq
Tughluq - 10 yıl Before

An Islamic country is needed so the EU does not become a Christians-only club. Thanks to Syrian Syrian president.