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Turkey downplays Syrian transit route for Middle East trade

(Xinhua)

14:15, December 08, 2011

ISTANBUL, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's economy minister downplayed Syria's significance as a transit route for Turkish trucks carrying goods to Middle Eastern and Gulf countries.

Zafer Caglayan said: "We have three alternative routes through Alexandria, Beirut and Iraq and possibly a fourth through the Suez Canal."

"We moved yesterday evening to take advantage of these alternatives and all of a sudden the Syrian government decided to let Turkish trucks into the country," he added.

He noted that Syrian customs officials have forced Turkish truck drivers to form long queues keeping them waiting at the border gates with Turkey but on Wednesday trucks were allowed in.

"By-passing Syria is a piece of cake. But we did not to want to choose that path. We want to use Syria as a transit route and allow Syrian economy to make money out of it," Caglayan said.

Syria did not permit the entrance of Turkish trucks at the Babel Hawas Border Gate and began working on their computer systems on December 1, the day when Syrian officials suspended a free trade agreement between Turkey and Syria.

There is a similar practice at all other Syrian border gates. Many Turkish trucks in Jordan are currently waiting at the Syrian border and they could not enter Syria from Jordan.

Around 700 trucks are waiting at the Babel Hawas Border Gate. The delays at the border have caused material losses.

 
 
 
 
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