Turkey, Iran eye tripling trade volume to $30bn
Istanbul, February 7, 2011
Turkey and Iran aim to triple their bilateral trade to $30 billion in five years, Iran's foreign minister was reported as saying, despite US attempts to constrict ties between Tehran and its closest neighbours.
Nato member Turkey and Iran, its second biggest gas supplier, have built up strong trade and political ties over the last decade to the concern of Washington, which has pushed an international campaign to isolate Tehran over its disputed nuclear programme.
'There is a political determination in the two countries to develop relations further,' Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, was quoted by state-run Anatolian news agency as saying on Sunday, when Turkey and Iran signed a joint economic commission accord in Tehran.
The cooperation talks spanned areas such as transport, industry and customs, Anatolian said.
Turkish State Minister Cevdet Yilmaz also set a target of $30 billion trade volume, without specifying a time frame.
Their bilateral trade volume rose to $10.7 billion last year from about $1 billion in 2000, Yilmaz said. Turkey's exports to Iran stood at $3.44 billion last year, making it Turkey's 10th biggest export market.
Washington has increased pressure on Ankara to enforce sanctions against Iran.
Turkey says it observes UN sanctions against Iran but declares it is not obligated to adhere to a separate US embargo that targets Iranian energy.
The US Treasury last week blacklisted six individuals and five business entities in Iran and Turkey for providing materials and support to Iran's ballistic missile development efforts.
Western powers suspect Iran is trying to secretly build a nuclear weapon, a charge Tehran denies. – Reuters