Iran, Turkey strengthen ties
Iran and Turkey are poised to establish a high council for strategic cooperation during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s forthcoming visit to Ankara, Iran’s ambassador to Turkey says.
“During this trip [starting on June 9], Iran-Turkey High Council of Strategic Cooperation will be formed for the first time,” Alireza Bigdeli said on Sunday.
He said this council will influence Iran-Turkey relations, “regional developments” as well as “international politics.”
Bigdeli said Rouhani's visit comes against the backdrop of efforts by Iranian and Turkish governments to double their trade from the current USD 15 billion by 2015.
“The two countries’ officials have set the 30-billion-dollar ceiling as the target [for trade exchanges]. A preferential trade agreement signed between Iran and Turkey will raise the two country’s trade exchanges by three to four billion dollars,” the ambassador said.
During his visit, Rouhani will hold meetings with Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited Tehran in January.
According to the figures released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), Iran-Turkey trade turnover stood at USD 3.256 billion in the first quarter of 2014.
On January 23, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz said Turkey imported more than seven billion dollars worth of Iranian natural gas and crude oil in 2013.
Iran’s natural gas is of crucial importance to Turkey as the energy-hungry country uses a significant portion of imported Iranian gas to generate electricity.