Gulf Council, Turkey sign partnership deal
The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Turkey yesterday signed a joint action plan to boost economic and political ties. The action plan was ratified in Kuwait following a new round of talks between the foreign ministers of Turkey and the GCC and is aimed both at boosting economic and political ties and working toward a free trade agreement. The plan covers 2011-2012 and envisages cooperation on trade, investments, agriculture, food safety, transportation, energy, culture, health, tourism, education, and the environment. After the meeting, the foreign ministers released a joint declaration expressing their determination to conclude a free trade agreement as soon as possible. The importance of preserving Iraq's independence, unity and territorial integrity was also underlined, as was the hope to have a nuclear weapon-free Middle East. The declaration also called for the end of the embargo on the Turkish Cypriots and condemned terrorism, saying it should not be associated with any religion, ethnicity, or nationality. They also expressed support for Turkey's fight against the terrorist PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.