Turkey, Iran seeking to boost trade to $30 billion

February 4, 2010

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan have held talks in Ankara that focused on the expansion of ties between Iran and Turkey.

Mottaki traveled to the Turkish capital on Tuesday to attend the 21st meeting of the Iran-Turkey Joint Economic Commission and met Erdogan after his arrival, Press TV reported.
Iranian Foreign Minister reaffirmed the importance of transporting Iranian natural gas to Europe over Turkey, calling for joint investments.
“Opening new phases in the South Pars Natural Gas Fields, solving issues regarding a sales agreement and the establishment of a joint refinery are important projects,” Mottaki said.
During the meeting, the Iranian foreign minister highlighted the importance of the agreement between Iran and Turkey to set up joint industrial towns and said the move could lead to a great enhancement in their bilateral relations.
The Turkish prime minister said that relations between the two countries are already at an excellent level.
Erdogan noted that trade between Iran and Turkey surpassed $10 billion last year and stated that the two countries are determined to increase it to $30 billion.
Senior Turkish and Iranian officials held talks in Ankara on Wednesday in a bid to boost trade cooperation, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.
Speaking at the opening of the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meeting, Turkish State Minister Cevdet Yilmaz was quoted as saying that Turkey aimed at opening a “golden age” in Turkish-Iranian relations with projects such as carrying Turkmen and Iranian natural gas to Europe over Turkey.
Turkish State Minister Yilmaz said Turkey and Iran were two “friendly and brotherly” countries, adding that the development of bilateral relations would make positive contributions to the stability and prosperity in the region, Xinhua reported.
Yilmaz stated the trade volume between the two countries exceeded 10 billion U.S. dollars for the first time in 2008, but decreased to 5.5 billion dollars in 2009 due to the fallout from global economic recession.
Turkish Minister said Turkey and Iran are seeking to boost bilateral trade to as high as 30 billion dollars within five years, adding that the two countries need to remove trade barriers.
Yilmaz said that a natural gas pipeline constructed between Turkey and Iran was one of the most important projects between the two countries, adding that the shipment through the pipeline was worth 1.5 to 2 billion dollars annually.
“It is obvious that these figures will go up in the coming years. Projects such as the transportation of Turkmen and Iranian natural gas to Europe over Turkey will bring our relations to a much higher level,” Yilmaz said.
Photo:
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki pose before a meeting in Ankara February 2, 2010. (Reuters photo)