Evolution of Relations Between Turkey and Syria

Posted November 15th, 2011 at 5:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Late 1990s: Turkey and Syria almost go to war over Damascus' support for Kurdish separatists in Turkey. But relations between the two nations flourish in the years of Syrian-Turkish rapprochement since then.

2005: Syria recognizes disputed Hatay region as sovereign Turkish territory.

2007: A free-trade agreement and mutual abolition of visa requirements results in Turkey's exports to Syria nearly doubling between 2005 and 2010 and generates a huge surge in tourism. The number of Syrian visitors to Hatay increased 80 percent after the visa agreement.

2008: Turkey mediates indirect talks between Israel and Syria. Trade volume between Turkey and Syria rapidly increases thanks to their free trade agreement. The total rose to $2.2 billion during the first 11 months of 2010.

2010: Plans drawn up for a “friendship dam” in Hatay to irrigate agricultural land in both countries.

March 2011: Pro-democracy protests erupt in Syria, resulting in a violent crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad's government and sending thousands of refugees into Hatay. Work on the friendship dam is delayed.

September 2011: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the violence in Syria. Mr. Erdogan predicted the fall of the Assad government, saying the era of oppressive dictators is past.

October 2011: Various Syrian opposition groups form the Syrian National Council at a meeting in Istanbul.

November 12, 2011: Pro-Assad crowds attack Turkey's diplomatic missions in Syria.

November 14, 2011: Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says Ankara will take a “resolute stance” against any further attacks on its diplomatic missions in Syria and pledges that Turkey will stand by the Syrian people in what he called their “rightful struggle” against the Assad government.

November 15, 2011: Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan says he no longer has any confidence in the Syrian government and demands an apology for the attacks on Turkish diplomatic missions in Syria. Turkey halts plans with Damascus to jointly explore for oil within Syria, in another attempt to pressure Damascus to end its crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.