Iran, Turkey seek closer security cooperation

September 13, 2009

TEHRAN - Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu have called for the expansion of security cooperation between the two neighbors.

Iran and Turkey are determined to fight terrorism and extremism, Mottaki said during a joint press conference with Davutoglu in Tehran on Saturday.
“Groups like the PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party) and PEJAK (Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan) must know that the messages exchanged between the two countries on terrorism are very clear and the two countries’ borders are not a place to damage their ties,” Mottaki stated.
He went on to say that the Iran-Turkey border has remained peaceful for many centuries, adding that their relations are not temporary or tactical but strategic and comprehensive.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Mottaki said the two countries’ joint committee on economic cooperation has held 20 meetings so far.
Trade exchanges between the two countries hit $11 billion in 2008 and efforts are being made to raise the figure to $20 billion in the near future, he noted.
Mottaki said that he and Davutoglu also discussed the situation in Iraq, Baghdad’s dispute with Syria, and issues pertaining to the Caucasus region.
Davutoglu said that the two countries have similar views on the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Iraq and called for collective support for Iraq.
He described Iran-Turkey ties as historic, saying their borders might be the oldest in the entire world.
The Turkish foreign minister called Tehran-Ankara relations comprehensive and said they range from cultural interactions to security cooperation.
Davutoglu also called for the expansion of security cooperation between the two countries, saying the region must be secure.
He also expressed hope that the level of Iran-Turkey annual trade exchanges would reach $20 billion in the short term and $40 billion sometime in the next five years.
He called for the expansion of the two countries’ current energy treaty, expressing hope that Iran would be able to export its gas to Europe through Turkey.
Iran, Turkey can play constructive roles in the region
In a separate meeting with the Turkish foreign minister, Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani said Tehran and Ankara “can play constructive roles in regional stability.”
Larijani stated that Iran and Turkey have enjoyed close ties based on good-neighborliness for centuries and insisted that the strengthening of this relationship is a necessity.
Davutoglu also called Iran a good and powerful regional neighbor.
The Turkish foreign minister said Iran’s submission of its nuclear package to the six major powers is an important step toward a negotiated resolution of the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, adding, “Turkey supports the continuation of Iran’s dialogue with Western countries.”
He also said, “Access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes is the right of all nations, including Iran, which have signed the NPT, and Iran should not be denied this right.