As economic relations between Turkey and Iran enter an "active" period, trade volume between the two countries is expected to potentially exceed $100 billion, according to Iranian Ambassador to Ankara Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian Fard.
Speaking to Turkish daily Dünya, Ambassador Fard said that meetings of the Joint Economic Commission (KEK) and other organizations regarding strategic cooperation between Ankara and Tehran will be very important for boosting bilateral trade volume, which is expected to reach $30 billion in the first stage. Attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the meetings point to a period of strengthened economic relations centered on cooperation between the two countries, which have a combined population of around 80 million people.
Indicating that Iran has neighborly relations with 15 countries in the region, Ambassador Fard said, "Turkey has an important place among the countries that share our soil as neighbors. We have multi-dimensional relations in terms of cultural, economic, political issues as well as national security and military-related issues. I am pleased to say that I am happy as our relationship [regarding these areas] has become stronger," he said.
Expressing that one of the most significant events which demonstrated the solid relationship between Ankara and Tehran was the July 15 failed coup attempt in Turkey, the Iranian ambassador said: "Iran and Turkey engaged in close ties during the failed coup attempt. The Iranian government and the people of Iran have raised their voices loudly as it was important for us to stand against this failed coup attempt. Events such as the coup attempt can be used as a gauge for measuring diplomatic relationships. On the other hand, some leaders from countries that call themselves our ‘friends' have been mere passive observers during this period, expressing their stance on the issues too late."
Regarding Turkish-Iranian economic relations, Ambassador Fard said that in the near future the Iranian consulate has plans to organize a fair in Istanbul that they have been unable to organize in Iran for roughly a decade.
"In the context of the Joint Economic Commission [KEK] established between the two countries, Iranian Minister of Industry, Mines, and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh in recent days was selected by Iran to be the co-president of the Joint Economic Commission. A total of 25 KEK meetings have been held to date, the last one of which took place in Ankara. While the next meeting will be held in Tehran, shortly thereafter the fourth strategic cooperation meeting will be held in Tehran with the participation of the presidents of the two countries. All these developments will help to improve relations between the two countries," Fard said.
"One of the most important tasks of our colleagues at our [Iranian] Embassy and other consulates is to develop economic and trade relations in Turkey and to achieve the trade volume goals set by our president. We know that we have to work hard to achieve that goal and we are making serious efforts to remove the obstacles," he added.
Ambassador Fard indicated that the $100 billion in trade volume between the two countries was brought to the agenda by Turkish authorities, saying that they share the same opinion as Iran. "There is no change in potential. In fact, the potential Iran and Turkey hold is much higher than this. Both countries have a population of 80 million. This number alone reveals that the potential is extremely high. It also shows that we need to make significantly more economic developments. Energy, tourism, logistics and co-production have high potential and are in the hands of the two countries, both of which need to see economic reform," he said.