Turkey and Iran should build on their shared $100-billion agricultural output, a senior government minister said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a joint news conference in Ankara alongside Iranian Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati, Turkey's Minister of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, Faruk Çelik emphasized potential opportunities offered by agricultural trade.
"We have decided to enhance collaboration in the agriculture sector to increase the trade volume between Turkey and Iran from $10 billion to $30 billion," said Çelik.
Çelik remarked there was more potential for business as the total population of Turkey and Iran is around 160 million.
"For Turkey, Iran is a gate opening to Asia, and for Iran, Turkey is a gate opening to Europe. Considering the regional conflicts, we should focus on how to improve this potential together instead of concerning [ourselves with] unessential issues," Çelik said.
Çelik said transportation problems in agricultural trade were also discussed during Wednesday's meeting, and added: "The two countries will share their own experiences for modernization of the agriculture sector."
"Our region is in a ring of fire. If only we talked about agriculture in Damascus, Aleppo and Mosul, instead of terror… The unity of the Muslim world is essential," the Turkish minister added.
'We are always grateful to Turkey'
Hojjati said Turkey and Iran had been collaborating on political and economic areas as two friendly countries.
"Turkey gave significant support to us during the embargo period, hence we are always grateful to Turkey," said Hojjati.
"Similarly, Iranian officials did not sleep a wink when that treacherous coup bid was performed against Turkey, and they announced support for Turkey," Hojjati added.
The Iranian minister said Turkey and Iran had the potential to complement each other in terms of agricultural trade, and added: "We will try to seize this potential."
Hojjati also said businesspeople from both countries during this week's visit had made very fruitful talks and wanted to lead permanent collaboration.
Commenting on regional conflicts, Hojjati said: "Making violence, which does not accord with Islam, in the name of Islam is worrying. Islam is a religion of mercy that promotes toleration and unity."