Not that I’m keeping my hopes that this would actually last, but it is refreshing to see Turkey moving away from Europe and turning to the Middle East:
Last month, Erdogan received Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in a groundbreaking visit to Turkey, adding yet another link to the long chain of alliances that Erdogan is carefully creating for the Turkish republic. Among other things, the two countries agreed to increase technical and scientific cooperation in military affairs and lift visa requirements between Lebanon and Turkey. At first glance, this will boost tourism and people-to-people contact between Beirut and Ankara.
It will certainly affect bilateral trade, which stood at US$225 million in 2002 and now stands at $900 million. It also means that Turkey has now lifted visa requirements with six Arab countries, the others being Libya, Morocco, Tunis, Jordan and Syria.
Turkey calls is the regional “Schengen” which is an interesting proposal. Following the addition of Turkey, we Lebanese can enter Syria and Jordan without the need for pre-approved visas. A good step forward but I guess that leaves us with about 190+ countries that we still need to work over.