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Türkiye, Iran Ink 10 Economic Cooperation Deals

By Nigar Bayramli January 27, 2024

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Turkish and Iranian high-ranking officials, including ministers, signed 10 cooperation documents in the presence of the two presidents, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ebrahim Raisi in Ankara on January 24, 2024. / president.ir

Türkiye and Iran have signed 10 cooperation documents to increase investment and economic cooperation, during President Ebrahim Raisi's visit to Ankara.

Agreements were signed in the fields of rail and air transportation, electricity, energy, economic and free trade zones, culture, media and communication.

President Raisi and his Turkish counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were present at the signing of the deals, following the 8th meeting of the Türkiye-Iran High-Level Cooperation Council on January 24, the official website of the Iranian president reported.

President Erdogan said at a joint press conference with President Raisi that Türkiye is “determined to reach the $30 billion trade target with Iran”.

He added that Ankara and Tehran should strengthen their cooperation in order to promote development and stability in the region. “We have not terminated and will not terminate our economic and trade relations with our neighbor Iran due to sanctions,” he noted.

“When the modernization work that we started at the Gurbulak-Bazargan Border Gate is completed, the Esendere and Dilucu customs gates will be relaxed and Gurbulak will provide services with a high capacity. The issue of opening new border crossings with Iran is also on our agenda,” the Turkish president emphasized.

“Our contracting companies have undertaken 56 projects totaling $4.6 billion in Iran so far,” he said, adding that “while many Western companies fled Iran due to sanctions, 200 of our companies chose to stay in Iran despite all the difficulties.”

For his turn, the Iranian president listed various sectors such as energy, road and rail transport, and culture, along with the fight against terrorism and organised crime, among the existing and agreed upon areas for the development and improvement of relations between Iran and Türkiye.

President Raisi further stated that the serious will of the regional countries in the fight against terrorism is the only way to create stability and security in the region and added that, “Iran considers the security of Türkiye and other countries in the region as its own security”.

He also referred to the ongoing Israel-Gaza war, saying that “today, Palestine has become the first issue of the Islamic world and the world of humanity, and all free nations have been affected by the oppression of the people of Gaza”.

Mentioning the Palestinian casualties, President Erdogan said that “with the support of Egypt, we have sent 17 planes and five ships full of humanitarian aid supplies to El-Arish so far.”

“Thus, we have shipped more than 30,000 tons of relief materials, including 26,000 tons of flour, to the region to be delivered to our Gaza brothers,” he said, adding that “we are hosting 380 patients and 344 injured companions in Türkiye and providing their treatment.”

“We support the steps taken in the field of international law to prevent Israel from getting away with the war crimes it has committed,” he stressed.

The number of dead as a result of bombing and shelling by Israeli forces in various areas of the Gaza Strip reached 25,700 since October 7, 2023, the enclave's health authorities announced on January 24. According to them, the total number of those injured in Israeli attacks has risen to 63,740 since the beginning of the Israel-Gaza war on October 7, 2023.

Meanwhile, about 1,200 Israelis were killed since October 7, and the military says 210 soldiers have died in the subsequent offensive.

Prior to President Raisi’s visit to Türkiye, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Safari said that Tehran and Ankara are to renew their gas trade deal and possibly ink an agreement on linking the power grids of the countries. Khoy in Iran and Van in Türkiye will serve as the link points of the power grids, according to Safari.

President Raisi arrived in Türkiye as the head of high-ranking political and economic delegations on January 24. The meeting had been planned for November, but was called off, and again postponed in early January after the twin blasts in Iran's southeastern city of Kerman, where at least 93 people were killed and 280 injured.

At the time of his departure, the Iranian president said increasing trade with Türkiye to $30 billion would be an objective of his visit. He also said he would discuss the Gaza war and the need to "cut the lifeline" of Israel in his talks with the Turkish president.

Iranian media have criticized Türkiye for shipping fuel to Israel, and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently called on Muslim countries to stop trade with Israel. Meanwhile, Türkiye criticizes Israel for its attacks on Gaza and has expressed support for the Palestinian people.