Turkey’s Erdogan Sees Signs of Rebirth in Tehran-Ankara Ties
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he expects 2014 to mark a rebirth of bilateral relations between Iran and Turkey.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Iran’s First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri in Tehran on Wednesday, Erdogan hailed what he called the rebirth of Iran-Turkey ties in 2014, hoping that the current year would be a prelude to a remarkable growth of trade exchange between the two neighbors.
He said the goal is to hike up the volume of trade between Iran and Turkey to $30 billion by 2015, stressing that the both sides have the political determination to reach that objective.
Erdogan arrived in the Iranian capital late Tuesday on an official visit to hold talks with senior Iranian authorities on Tehran-Ankara ties, trade relations and regional issues.
Elsewhere in the press conference, the Turkish premier said his country is an importer of Iranian crude oil and natural gas, which he described as “strategic” products, and also expressed Ankara’s willingness to boost fossil fuel imports from Iran.
Erdogan further explained that Turkey’s industry is booming at a dramatic pace, and emphasized his country’s growing need for Iran’s natural gas.
“We hope to take win-win steps according to the common goals,” Erdogan said of the prospect of trade ties between Tehran and Ankara, noting that Turkey can export various products to Iran in return.
He also touched on the meetings between the two countries’ economy ministers, and called for major strides to finalize a series of agreements on economic relations.
Among the visiting dignitaries accompanying Erdogan are Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci.
During his two-day stay in Tehran, Erdogan is slated to hold separate meetings with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
This is Erdogan’s first trip to Tehran after the Iranian president took office in August 2013.
Erdogan said prior to departure for Iran that he seeks to pave the way for an increase in the trade exchange between Tehran and Ankara.
“Turkey imports 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Iran per annum, and with the easing and lifting of the (anti-Iran) sanctions, the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries will progress as well,” Erdogan said.
Observers believe that the Turkish premier’s visit to Iran marks a milestone in regional issues.
Commentators argue that Erdogan’s trip will have great significance for the region, as Tehran-Ankara cooperation will have a major impact on the Syrian crisis.