Turkish president Erdogan in Iranian capital, Tehran for talks

Turkish president Erdogan in Iranian capital, Tehran for talks

Iran's President Rouhani officialy welcomes the Turkish president who is being accompanied by several cabinet ministers and a business entourage.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is accompanied by a high-ranking delegation of four Turkish cabinet ministers of economy, energy, customs and culture as well as Turkish investors and business owners.

President Erdogan arrived in the Iranian capital, Tehran, for discussions with the country’s senior officials on issues of bilateral and regional significance. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani officially welcomed his Turkish counterpart in Tehran on Wednesday.

Erdogan’s visit, his second in three years, comes at a critical juncture on the regional political stage.

Apart from political issues, bilateral economic ties will top the agenda of the planned talks between the Iranian and Turkish officials. The two neighboring countries are key economic partners and plan to enhance their annual trade volume to $30 billion.

Iran and Turkey, along with Russia, have also been mediating a peace process between the warring sides in Syria aimed at ending the deadly crisis plaguing the Arab state.

Both Iran and Turkey have raised concerns about a secession push by Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. The Kurdistan Regional Government has come under international scrutiny for holding an independence referendum slammed by Baghdad as unconstitutional. 

President Rouhani has said Iran and Turkey are "anchors of stability" in the Middle East region, and fighting terrorism is top on the agenda of the two countries.
, stressing regional countries will not allow terrorists to continue their activities in the region. 

“Fighting terrorism is one of the important objectives of the two countries. We need to fight any terrorist group anywhere, be it Daesh… or the al-Nusra Front or the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) or whatever name they have. Terrorists should know that regional governments will not allow them to carry out their cowardly and inhumane activities,” Rouhani said at a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following their meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.

The Iranian president said that he had held detailed talks with his Turkish counterpart on critical issues in the region, including the Syrian crisis and Iraq’s Kurdistan region, stressing that Ankara and Tehran sought the establishment of peace, stability and security in the entire region.  

Describing Iran and Turkey as two powerful countries in the region, Rouhani said Tehran and Ankara were against disintegration of the region and opposed plots by foreign countries to foment sectarian and ethnic rifts in the Middle East. 

“In the opinion of the two countries, Iraq is a unified country and so is Syria, and we will by no means accept a change in geographical borders,” he said. 

Touching on the September 25 referendum in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, the Iranian president described the Kurdish region as a good neighbor of Iran and Turkey, saying, “We do not want to impose pressure on Iraq’s Kurdistan people, but certain leaders of this region must make up for the wrong decisions they have made. Therefore, Turkey, Iran and Iraq have no choice but to take new and necessary measures to achieve their strategic goals in the region.”  

On bilateral ties, Rouhani said the two sides had discussed cooperation in the tourism, petrochemical and transportation industries as well as the banking sector, adding that Turkey was ready to import more natural gas from Iran.

The two countries are determined to boost economic and trade ties, Rouhani said, adding that Ankara and Tehran were targeting an annual trade volume of $30 billion.

The Iranian president also said that the two countries had agreed to conduct trade in their own currencies.

Erdogan, for his part, said Turkey would take stronger steps in response to last week's Kurdistan region referendum, adding that Ankara had already taken some measures in coordination with the Iraqi central government and Iran.

He said Turkey considered the referendum “illegitimate,” stressing that the vote was supported by Israel and could only isolate the Kurdish region.

The Turkish leader also said that the goal of raising Turkish-Iranian trade volume to $30 billion from $10 billion remained on the agenda, and that the two sides would conduct trade in their own currencies to limit foreign exchange pressures.


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