Turkey to suspend free trade pact with Syria
AFP, Friday 9 Dec 2011
Customs and trade minister announces end to agreement as Ankara plans to bypass Syria as a transit route for trade with other countries in the region

Turkey is taking new economic measures against the Syrian leadership and will suspend a free trade agreement already frozen by Damascus in retaliation for sanctions by Turkey, a minister said on Friday.

"We have submitted to (cabinet's) signature a decree drafted by the economy ministry suspending (the) free trade agreement with Syria," Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazici was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.

Damascus had announced it had suspended the free trade pact with Ankara after Turkey followed the Arab League by announcing a raft of punitive measures targeting President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Ankara is also planning entirely to bypass Syria as a transit route for regional trade with Middle Eastern countries.

Yazici said new trade routes would be through Ro-Ro vessel shuttle between Turkey's southern ports and Egypt's Alexandria, Jordan's Akaba and Saudi Arabia's Jeddah.

He said routes through Iraq and Jordan would also be used to reach out to Gulf countries.