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Today's Zaman - April 12, 2010

by Hasan Kanbolat

President Abdullah Gül is visiting the Sultanate of Oman until Wednesday. Oman was the only country in the Arabian Peninsula that Gül had not yet visited. Gül’s official visit to Oman will positively contribute to the development of Turkish-Omani relations, which date back to the 1500s, and spark a new start in bilateral relations.

Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said has been ruling the country for the last 40 years and is considered a leader who does not like to travel abroad and who receives only a limited number of visitors every year. However, he attaches great importance to his country’s ties with Turkey and has turned a new page in Turkish-Omani relations. The two countries opened embassies in each others capitals in 1985 and 1986, and Sultan Qaboos paid his first official visit to Turkey in 1989. Under his rule, Oman has incrementally developed its political, commercial and social ties with Turkey.

The history of Turkish-Omani relations dates back to the 16th century. Fighting against the Portuguese occupation, the Omani people received military and economic support from the Ottoman Empire. Today, Omani people’s perceptions about Turkey are shaped by the memory of the support the Ottoman Empire gave them in the face of the Portuguese invaders. Another major historical event that affects Turkish-Omani relations was the Ottoman state preventing the Saudi family from taking control of Omani territories. Saudi forces had seized Omani territories first in 1803 and later in 1807. The Ottoman Empire took control of Riyadh in 1821, thereby abating the influence of the Saudi family and terminating the Saudi domination of Omani territories.

In the post-World War II era, both Turkey and Oman were positioned within the Western bloc, but no extensive cooperation was achieved between two countries. The diplomatic ties between Turkey and Oman gained a new dimension with Oman opening an embassy in Ankara in 1985, and Turkey’s reciprocation in Muscat in 1986. However, political, social and commercial relations remained well below expectations. While trade volume between the two countries rose from $43 million in 2005 to $122 million in 2009, this is still inadequate. In March 2009, a meeting was held in Oman with the participation of businessmen from both countries, and it was decided that certain steps should be taken to develop commercial ties.

Recently, a certain increase in the cultural interaction between the two countries has been seen. Turkish TV series have a certain responsibility in this. The number of Turkish engineers and academics working in Muscat, which also has a Turkish school, is increasing each day. Finally, in line with Turkey’s increasing activities in the Middle East, the number of articles concerning Turkey appearing in the Omani press is on the rise. The people and administration of Oman are eager to boost ties with Turkey, particularly after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Davos walkout. Furthermore, more and more Omani opinion leaders are starting to think that Turkey is playing a constructive role in the solution of deep-rooted problems in the Middle East. Indeed, the report “The Sultanate of Oman: An Arab State Between Tradition and Modernity in the Arabian Peninsula,” prepared by Veysel Ayhan, an adviser to the Middle East Strategic Research Center (ORSAM), examines the Turkish-Omani relations in detail.

In conclusion, it should be noted that there is suitable ground for political and social cooperation toward improving ties between the two countries, and this will accelerate the process quickly. Therefore, it is obvious that President Gül’s visit to Oman with a delegation of businessmen, journalists, academics and think tanks will boost the two countries’ multidimensional cooperation.

Altri articoli su:
[ Medio Oriente ] [ Oman ] [ Turchia ] [ Unione Europea ]

Comunicati su:
[ Medio Oriente ] [ Oman ] [ Turchia ] [ Unione Europea ]

Interventi su:
[ Medio Oriente ] [ Oman ] [ Turchia ] [ Unione Europea ]

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