Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Tehran on Wednesday for a two-day state visit, and inked three trade deals with the Islamic Republic.
The agreements include reductions in tariffs on 220 Turkish industrial products and on Iranian food products, and come amid an easing of economic sanctions on Iran, as part of an interim deal with Western powers.
Turkey and Iran aim to more than double the current levels of trade between the countries, going from $13.5 billion (9.9 billion euros) in 2013 despite strained relations to $30 billion (21.9 billion euros) in 2015, Erdogan said Wednesday.
The premier met Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and discussed the “brotherhood, love and friendship” that exist between Tehran and Ankara, as well as the “fertile ground” and opportunities for expansion and the deepening of ties between the two nations, Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency reported. He also met with President Hassan Rouhani.
Erdogan said he would focus his efforts on expanding Turkey’s cooperation with Iran’s energy sector.
“We import oil and natural gas from Iran and those are strategic products that Turkey imports from Iran and we can receive them more (than before),” Erdogan was quoted by Fars as saying, after signing the agreements on Wednesday.
“Given the fact that Turkey’s industries are making progress on a daily basis and rapidly, we direly need energy products, specially Iran’s natural gas, and we should take joint win-win steps,” he added.
Turkey, as well as many other Western and Asian nations, is keen on tapping into Iran’s energy sector, as world powers push for a final-status deal that would ease sanctions on the country’s economy in exchange for concessions on the nuclear front.
“We hope the process will be finalized with an agreement that will ensure the removal of all sanctions on Iran. Turkey has so far done its best in that regard and will continue to do so,” Erdogan said.
In Tehran, Khamenei said both Tehran and Ankara were “serious” about implementing bilateral agreements.
He even tweeted on his official account, “Leader: Strong will by #Tehran & Ankara crucial for implementation of agreements made by Mr. #Erdogan’s visit; consolidates, advances ties.”
AFP contributed to this report.