World Journal of Social Sciences, vol.2, 2012 (Refereed Journals of Other Institutions)
In this paper, the long history of Turkey-Syria relations will be summarized by focusing on the period starting with 2000’s and representing the transition of Syria to liberalism and adoption of Turkey an active Middle East policy. After the independence of Syria from the Ottoman Empire after World War I, economic relations between Syria and Turkish Republic shaped around international politics and trade. Although it is expected that long border and common history could help the commercial relations improve, volume of trade was very low because of some political reasons. Before World War 2, colonial administration in Syria and economic nationalism in Turkey had been the main restrictive factors. In the cold war era, following the ascendance of Baas Party, and polarization of states, commercial relations continued to be low. With the presidency of Bessar Esad in Syria who opened the economy abroad, and with Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) rise to ascendance in Turkey, the volume of trade enourmously increased. With ShamGen, which is a project similar to European Schengen, and a step toward creation of a common market between Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, it is aimed at establishing strong and consistent financial relationships among Syria, Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon by setting a single market and by developing cooperation in banking. The potential GDP of the region is estimated as 900 billion USD. And it is planned that trade and investments between these countries would be supported and facilitated; the planned agreement would also complement free trade and visaexemption agreements signed between the four countries. It is hoped that economic success of the process will bring peace and political stability to the region. The evaluation of the project has been made using SWOT analysis. This analysis indicates that it is an advantageous process for the region.