Turkey crucial for resolution of Syrian crisis
Praising Turkey's regional role, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Saad Eddine El-Othmani stated that Turkey, an immediate neighbor of Syria, plays an important role in the resolution of the 21-month-long Syrian crisis. In an exclusive interview with Today's Zaman, Othmani said that Turkey plays a pivotal role in the region while the Syrian crisis continues. "Turkey is a border country of Syria. Turkey has done much for Syria both on a humanitarian as well as on a political level in order to end the crisis. Indeed, Turkey is an important factor in the resolution of the crisis," said the top Moroccan diplomat. "Turkey is day by day becoming an important political and economic power both on a regional and an international level," added Othmani. Othmani spoke to Today's Zaman on the sidelines of the fourth ministerial meeting of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People, which took place in Marrakech on Wednesday. Othmani considers the meeting a significant step in international efforts to find a solution to the Syrian crisis, which has dragged on far longer than any other Arab Spring. "This meeting was aimed aim realizing two objectives. First, to provide political support to the people of Syria by recognizing the new coalition. Second, to provide humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees. Actually, the main goal of the meeting was to discuss the future of Syria and its transitional government process," said Othmani. In addition to the issue of recognition, the Marrakesh meeting also reviewed the issue of humanitarian aid to Syrians affected by the conflict. The Moroccan foreign minister believes that the formation -- as well as recognition -- of the new Syrian coalition in November 2012 in Doha is an important step in the solving the Syrian crisis. Othmani considers the meeting in Marrakech a step for the Syrians to build a more stable, united and democratic future. "Syrians can accomplish much in the post-Assad era. They are the only ones that should decide their future. It is in their hands. We can help them as friendly countries to achieve their goals," said Othmani. Lastly, touching upon the relations between Turkey and Morocco, Othmani stated that the two countries could do much for the stabilization of the region. "I think we can play a very important role [in concert with] consultations with the other countries in the region," said Othmani. Morocco appreciates the strategic position, potential and power of Turkey. The North African country considers Turkey to have a pivotal role in its region and in the Islamic world and admires its position of being a bridge between the East and West as well as the Christian and Muslim worlds. The history of the Ottoman Empire and Morocco constitutes a strong basis for the current bilateral relations without any historical prejudices. From the Moroccan perspective, Turkey is a modern, developed country that also retains its national identity. "Turkey and Morocco are already working together for the stabilization of the region. There are always consultations between the two countries at all levels," said Othmani.