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Ankara Aims at Promoting Relations with Tehran | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif (L) as they meet at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, August 12, 2016 © REUTERS/ Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace

Ankara – Turkey is heading towards boosting relations with Iran, as tensions started to diminish between the two countries over Turkey’s support to the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

On Tuesday, Ankara sent a delegation headed by Rifat Hisarciklioglu, the president of Turkey’s Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges, to attend the 21st Executive Committee Meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization – Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ECO-CCI) in Iran.

This move, which was seen as a step towards promoting economic and commercial relations with the Persian State, coincided with recent statements delivered by Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim about his country’s keenness on normalizing relations with Iran.

“Just like it normalized relations with Israel and Russia, Turkey and Iran will offer the solution to the crisis in Syria,” Yildrim said on Tuesday, addressing parliament members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Earlier this month, Iran’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif conducted an official visit to Turkey where he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The officials discussed the Syrian crisis and bilateral economic relations.

Hisarciklioglu was quoted by Turkish news agencies as saying that the future of Turkish-Iranian relations was highly promising. He also called on Turkish investors to take advantage of new business opportunities in Iran.

ECO was established in 1985 by Turkey, Iran and Pakistan to stimulate regional development, build economic and technical relations and tighten cultural and historical ties.

Other member states such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan joined the organization after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Hisarciklioglu described the rapprochement between the two countries as highly important to resolve the ongoing crises in the region. He also praised Iran’s support to Turkey against July’s failed coup attempt.

Diplomatic sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that the recent cooperation between Turkey and Iran aims at facing the threats presented by the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union, which is linked to the Kurdistan Labor Party.

The sources added that Turkey was looking to seize major economic opportunities in Iran, should Western countries agree to lift economic sanctions over the Persian state.