Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 7
By Rufiz Hafizoglu – Trend:
After the Justice and Development Party came to power in Turkey, Ankara made no secret of its ambitions in the region, especially with respect to the Arab countries. Turkish authorities have repeatedly stated that Turkish democracy may become a model for a number of Arab countries.
At the same time, ethnic differences, religion, culture and history of the Arab countries, where it was planned to export the Turkish democracy, were not taken into account.
Along with Ankara, Tehran also has never hidden its ambitions with regard to neighboring Arab countries. When the “Arab Spring” started a number of these countries, Iran has regarded it as a starting point for the expansion of the Islamic revolution there.
Today, the “Arab Spring”, which eventually evolved into armed clashes in several Arab countries, is a real threat for both Iran and Turkey.
But, unlike Iran, Turkey is in a more difficult position, since terrorists from almost all Western countries use the Turkish route in order to join the ranks of militants of “Islamic state”, as well as other terrorist organizations.
Though there are currently serious differences on a number of issues, especially the Syrian, Iraqi and Yemeni crisis between Iran and Turkey, the parties continue to cooperate in the economic sphere.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a short-term visit to Tehran on Apr.7. Turkish delegation included the country’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, Minister of Customs and Trade Nurettin Canikli, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz and other government members.
Furthermore, Erdogan during his visit to Iran was also accompanied by the head of the Turkish intelligence Hakan Fidan.
Along with the political issues, which were the main subject of discussion, the parties also discussed the further development of economic relations.
The bilateral trade turnover between Turkey and Iran stood at $13.6 billion in 2014, according to Turkish Statistical Institute, while this figure was equal to $14.4 billion in 2013.
Turkey and Iran intend to bring the volume of bilateral trade turnover to $30 billion for a short period of time.
Participation of Minister of Customs and Trade Nurettin Canikli in the visit suggests that the parties were also discussing the issue regarding Turkish carriers.
Earlier, Turkish authorities accused the Iranian side stating that although the two sides reached an agreement in 2014 to facilitate the entry of Turkish transporters to Iran, the latter hasn’t completely fulfilled its obligations.
It is not ruled out that the sides will be able to agree on this issue.
Nevertheless, alongside with political problems, Turkey and Iran have some problems in the energy sphere, to be more precisely, the court of arbitration on the price for the gas supplied from Iran to Turkey.
Ankara appealed to the International Court of Arbitration regarding the price on Iranian gas in March 2012.
It is expected that the International Court of Arbitration will issue a decision on this lawsuit.
It is not ruled out that Ankara and Tehran will succeed to solve their economic problems in order to further develop the partnership. But it will not be easy to resolve the political problems.
It should be noted that earlier, Turkish president’s remarks on Iran’s support to Shiite rebels in Yemen caused sharp reaction from some Iranian parliamentarians.
Before the start of the military operations in Yemen, Erdogan said that Iran aspires to dominate the region which is unacceptable. He added that this has already started irritating Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf countries and Iran should know that.
Today, the similar remarks were made by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. He said Ankara can be a mediator in the settlement of the crisis in Yemen, however, Iran’s unilateral support to Shiites in Iraq, Syria and Yemen leads the whole region to catastrophe and Tehran should revise its policy.
These remarks made by Turkish foreign minister in Iran suggest that like Tehran, Ankara doesn’t intend to back down from its positions.
Following the meeting, the two countries’ presidents said that the crisis in Yemen was the main topic in the negotiations, adding that the sides are against the bloodshed in the region. Iranian president said that interference of other countries in this crisis is inadmissible.
No matter how much Turkey will try to be a mediator between the opposing sides in Yemen, especially between Iran and Saudi Arabia, its attempts will not bring any results.
Although Turkey assesses Iran’s growing interests from the political point of view, it is an ideological issue for Iran.
In one world, no matter how the economic relations develop between Iran and Turkey, Tehran doesn’t trust Turkish democracy.
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu
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