President Abdullah Gul and Jordanian King Abdullah II paid a visit to the Turkish Aerospace Industry Corporation (TAI) on Wednesday to see examples of Turkish defense technologies, including domestic unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), fighter helicopters and trainer aircraft Today`s Zaman reported.
Gül and King Abdullah were welcomed on arrival at the TAI facility by Defense Industry Undersecretary Murat Bayar and TAI officials. TAI General Director Muharrem Dortkashlı showed King Abdullah several photographs of his father's (King Hussein) visit to the TAI facility in 1987.
Gul and King Abdullah were then shown the TAI/AgustaWestland T-129 attack helicopters assembled in Turkey, primarily for the army, under the "ATAK" project. Later, the two viewed other domestic defense technologies, including the basic trainer and ground attack aircraft for the Turkish Armed Forces, Hürkuş and the unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, Anka, based on the Phoenix model.
King Abdullah also met with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Wednesday. The top Turkish diplomat discussed the Syrian crisis with the king, the repercussions of which closely affect both countries. Turkey and Jordan are both hosting a large number of refugees fleeing the violence in Syria. The official number of refugees in Turkey has reached 190,000 and there are some 400,000 as of March in Jordan. In addition, more than 60,000 people have been killed during the two-year Syrian crisis, according to UN statistics.
The king and Davutoglu also exchanged views on the Middle East peace process and discussed the new US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to the region, according to diplomatic sources.
Turkey-Jordan economic cooperation
The king, coming to Turkey at Gul's invitation, also attended a meeting on economic cooperation between Turkey and Jordan organized by the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) on Wednesday morning.
Speaking at the meeting, TOBB President Rıfat Hisarcıklıoğlu noted that Jordanian peace and stability is an important element of the peace and stability of the whole Middle East due to the strategic importance of the country for that area. Hisarcıklıoğlu, deeming the 21st century as the century of cooperation, stated that the next target for economic cooperation between Turkey and Jordan is to increase their bilateral trade volume to $2 billion in the near term.
Hisarcıklıoglu also mentioned that the momentum for bilateral trade between the two countries has increased on an important level due to the recent visa liberalization between the two countries. He noted that the total value of Turkish investments in Jordan has reached more than $250 million. Also, there were 39 Turkish business projects in Jordan in 2012 alone and their total value is roughly $2.5 billion.
The growing number of Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria has started to take a significant toll on Jordan's fragile economy, putting a strain on government resources in every area and especially services related to social welfare, health, education and security. Jordanian officials have requested that the international community help to ease Jordan's burden dealing with the influx of refugees several times.