Morocco’s House Speaker and Turkish ambassador meet as the two countries appear determined to put behind them a recent trade dispute.
Rabat – The Turkish ambassador in Rabat, Ahmet Aydin Dogan, discussed cooperation and trade with the Speaker of Morocco’s House of Representatives, Habib El Malki, on February 19.
With the “courtesy and friendship meeting” marking the end of Dogan’s diplomatic mission in Morocco, the two officials seized the occasion to speak of consolidating broad-ranging bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Expressing his satisfaction with the state of Morocco-Turkey ties, the Turkish ambassador explained that the ongoing dialogue between the two parties owes much to the recent renewal of their free-trade agreement to the benefit of both countries. Dogan also praised the long-standing relations between the two countries.
After indulging in positive remarks about the centuries-long relationship between the two countries, the Turkish diplomat invited El Malki for a working visit to Turkey. He said there was a need to further discuss strengthening diplomatic and trade partnership between the legislative institutions of the two countries.
Meanwhile, El Malki stressed the investment potentials and other economic opportunities that have arisen in Morocco’s southern provinces. The Moroccan House Speaker invited Turkish investors to take part in the development and investments race the region has seen in recent months.
El Malki cited exploiting southern Morocco’s promising investment potentials as one way of cementing the rapidly expanding trade connections between Morocco and Turkey. Echoing Dogan’s sentiment of a shared history and deep-seating fraternity, he also highlighted the depth and historical significance of the centuries-old relations between Morocco and Turkey.
“The two countries are united by a long history and a great civilization, and are linked by strong common roots,” said El Malki.
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The meeting comes as Ankara and Rabat seem to have completely put behind them a recent heated trade dispute. In November 2019, Morocco threatened to walk out of a 2006 free trade agreement with Turkey, arguing that it was one of the many deals “that do not benefit our economy and our country.”
Many pundits and observers understandably saw in the incident an indication of much wider, and increasingly unbridgeable, strategic disagreements between Ankara and Rabat. But the two countries went on to resolve their disagreement on the trade deal, and have since appeared determined to take their relationship to the next level.
At the height of the Guerguerat crisis in November 2020, after Morocco intervened to lift a Polisario blockade, Turkey was one of the countries that strongly supported Morocco’s “legitimate” stance on the Western Sahara question.
Hami Aksoy, the spokesperson of the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, reiterated Turkey’s support for a just and lasting political solution in the Western Sahara dispute. Aksoy explained that this should be achieved within the framework of UN Security Council resolutions.
While Aksoy’s comments constituted diplomatic support for Morocco’s position, Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesperson of the Turkish president, went a step further by more clearly expressing Turkey’s position on Morocco’s Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara.
Embracing the Moroccan autonomy proposal, Kalin stated that Morocco’s territorial integrity and its stability constitute a strategic priority for Turkey.