Turkey, Egypt form strategic cooperation council

TODAYSZAMAN

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and his Egyptian counterpart, Essam Sharaf, spoke at a joint news conference in Cairo on Tuesday.
Turkey has established with Egypt a cooperation council similar to its previous attempts with other regional Arab nations to faciliate trade and cultivate close relations as part of Turkey’s increasingly assertive policy to expand its political and economic interests in the region.
“This economic mechanism will make future of our countries much more stronger,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an told a joint news conference with his Egyptian counterpart Essam Sharaf in Cairo on Tuesday immediately after signing High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council.
Erdo?an said both countries have $3 billion trade volume and there is a need to quickly reach to $5 billion. “We had an agreement on this,” Erdo?an said, referring to his meeting with Egyptian prime minister where both prime ministers decided to ramp up the current trade transactions between the two countries.
Recalling that Turkish investors have $1.5 billion investment in Egypt, Erdo?an said the Turkish government is promoting the businessmen to invest at least $5 billion in the Arab country. Noting that there are 280 businessmen accompanying him in his visit to Egypt, Erdo?an said joint steps need to be taken by bringing Turkish and Egyptian businessmen together.
Erdo?an says Israel can’t read changes in region

Erdo?an said Turkey and Turkish people believe Egyptian people will overcome this critical process successfully, referring to Egypt’s painful transition period.

“Our Egyptian brothers should know that we stand by Egypt in this difficult period as in good times,” Erdo?an said, adding that Egypt and its people were successful in reading and analyzing change in the region. “But there are countries that cannot read this change well,” Erdo?an said, adding that this is Israel.

He noted that Turkey cannot remain silent to attempts that threaten peace and stability in the region, adding that developments in the Middle East closely concern both Turkey and Egypt and the two countries cannot remain indifferent to the developments in the region.

According to Erdo?an, Palestinian issue continues to be a bleeding wound of the Middle East and that Turkey recognizes Egypt’s struggle and effort in this issue. He said Turkey and Egypt agreed to support Palestinians’ application for UN upgrade which he said is very vital for peace and stability in the region.

Egypt has traditionally seen itself as the leading diplomatic player in the Arab region. But its position has been eroded by wealthy Gulf countries, such as Qatar, and lately overshadowed by Turkey, with its fast expanding economy.

Palestinians must have a state

Erdo?an said the most important factor in restoring peace and stability in the Middle East is to find a fair solution Palestinian problem, which he defined as a “bleeding wound.” He said the primary cause of stalemate in the Middle East peace process is known, referring to Israel, adding that Palestinian brothers must achieve a statehood that they long yearned for.

Asked about a coordination of strategy between Turkey and Egypt against Israel, Erdo?an said Israel will not determine the content of strategic cooperation between Turkey and Egypt. Accusing Israel of threatening peace in the region by killing nine Turkish civilians in international waters and five Egyptians in Israeli-Egyptian border, Erdo?an said Israel has no single word to say on behalf of peace in the world.

Egypt has also been embroiled in a dispute with Israel after Israel shot dead five Egyptian border guards in repelling cross-border raiders it said were Palestinian militants.

Turkish journalists also reminded Erdo?an about his earlier speech at the Arab League summit where he said there might be some circles who want to reverse the course of the Arab Spring and asked him to elaborate on this. Erdo?an said those who want to reverse this course know themselves and it is not necessary to name them now.


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