Turkish President: Ties With Iran "Strategically Important”
EghtesadOnline: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that relations with Iran are strategically important and called for supportive measures by both sides to facilitate trade and investment.
“Expansion of relations with Iran is of strategic importance to Turkey,” Erdogan said during a meeting with Mahmoud Vaezi, Iran’s presidential chief of staff, in Ankara, ISNA reported.
The Turkish leader said more practical steps should be taken to strengthen cooperation between the two neighboring countries, particularly in the economic field, and to support businesspeople.
Erdogan noted that the upcoming visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will provide a great opportunity for Tehran and Ankara to review the implementation of joint projects and agreements, according to Financial Tribune.
Rouhani is scheduled to participate in the fifth meeting of Iran-Turkey High Council of Strategic Cooperation, along with a number of ministers and other senior officials.
Opposition to Sanctions
Last month, the Turkish president reiterated that his country would not abide by the renewed US sanctions on Iran’s oil and shipping industries, as they were aimed at “unbalancing the world”.
Washington has reimposed sanctions on Tehran, ditching a 2015 deal over its nuclear program. The US measures temporarily allow some major customers, including Turkey, to continue buying Iranian crude.
NATO member Turkey depends heavily on imports to meet its energy needs and Iran has been one of its main sources of oil because of its proximity, the quality of its crude and favorable price differentials.
In 2017, Iran was Turkey’s top crude oil source, accounting for 11.5 million tons of its total purchases nearing 26 million tons, followed by Iraq and Russia, Reuters reported.
Vaezi lauded positive developments in bilateral trade during his meeting with Erdogan, saying that Iran is interested in developing closer relations with Turkey in all spheres.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to increase ties and comprehensive cooperation with Turkey as a neighboring, friendly and brotherly country,” he said, while emphasizing the need to remove trade barriers and speed up the execution of mutually agreed projects.
The official held a meeting with a number of Iranian and Turkish businessmen on the same day, in which he underlined the importance of sharing experience and expertise.
Tehran and Ankara have ramped up efforts in recent years to boost bilateral trade, setting out an ambition to build $30 billion of trade and investment ties.
Iran’s presidential chief of staff also said shared views between Iranian and Turkish authorities on a range of regional and international issues act as a catalyst for solidifying relations.
Iran, Turkey and Russia have succeeded in alleviating the crisis caused by foreign forces waging a war against Syria, which erupted in 2011 and killed thousands of people and created millions of refugees.
United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura will hold talks with high-level officials from the three countries in Geneva, Switzerland, early next week on setting up a constitutional committee, a UN statement said on Friday.