Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Improvements Made in Turkish-Iranian Relations

Erdogan Terms Iran Visit As ‘Positive’

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described his visit to Iran and his meetings with Iranian officials as “positive.”

Speaking at a press conference at the Turkish embassy in Tehran on Wednesday, Mr. Erdogan referred to the results of his trip to Iran, and said, “regarding settlement of regional issues, we share common views and on economic issues we can also perform some works jointly.”

“As regards foreign policy, our main goal is attracting friends and having no enemies, and this is our basic (principle of) thinking at national and international levels,” he told reporters.

Mr. Erdogan received a red carpet welcome by Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi Tuesday morning.

Earlier in a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Tuesday, the Turkish prime minister called for further expansion of all-out bilateral ties between the two neighboring states.

Mr. Erdogan once again stated that pursuance of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes is the legitimate right of all world countries, including Iran.

Mr. Erdogan asked for joint efforts by all regional states to provide security in the Middle East.

“Iraq should enjoy stability. All nations should work for stability in the Middle East because other countries are under the effect of terrorism as much as us,” Mr. Erdogan said at a joint meeting between Iranian and Turkish traders and businessmen in Iran’s Chamber of Commerce in Tehran on Thursday.

“There exists no one to provide security in the region, but us. We cannot rely on other parties. We should be brothers and stand firm,” Mr. Erdogan noted.

He described Iran and Turkey as stable islands in the region, adding, “In order to make the whole region stable like our countries, we should initiate joint plans for Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Elsewhere, Mr. Erdogan underlined Iran’s responsibility for peace and security in the Caucuses, “Iran, like Turkey, is responsible for peace and security in the Caucuses. The presence of foreign troops is not a solution to the problems of the region. A decision by the regional states is needed.”

Mr. Erdogan arrived in Tehran Monday night leading a high-ranking delegation, comprising of five cabinet ministers, 30 parliament members, 80 representatives of the private sector and 30 representatives from the media.

Regarding economic relations between Ankara and Tehran, Mr. Erdogan said that Turkey agrees with Iran on increasing the volume of trade exchange to $30 billion.

He noted that the two countries enjoy the necessary capacities to materialize such amount of trade exchanges.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

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