ALEPPO, Syria (AFP) — Turkey boosted its ties with Syria on Tuesday at the first meeting of a newly formed cooperation council, only days after Ankara’s relations with Damascus foe Israel took a downturn.
The foreign, defense, interior, economy, oil, electricity, agriculture and health ministers of the two countries attended the strategic talks in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.
Their agenda called for a series of meetings between respective ministers in their fields and the signing of diplomatic and economic agreements.
The foreign ministers signed a deal on scrapping visa requirements for each other’s nationals.
Turkish-Syrian relations have improved after decades of mistrust based on Ankara’s accusations that Damascus supported Turkey’s banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
But Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told a news conference with Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu that Damascus regarded the PKK as a “terrorist organization banned” in his country.
Turkey’s ties with Israel took a turn for the worse on Sunday when the Jewish state announced Ankara had decided to exclude it from the “Anatolian Eagle” joint military exercises.
The move came after Syria and Turkey signed an agreement in Istanbul last month to establish the cooperation council as part of efforts to forge closer links. Under the accord, the council will meet once a year.