Al Jazeera Net correspondents
Tehran- After it was postponed twice, first at the end of last November, then at the beginning of this month, it began Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi At the head of a high-level political and economic delegation – this afternoon, Wednesday – an official visit to Ankara, and held talks with his Turkish counterpart. Recep Tayyip Erdogan Behind closed doors, before the two sides sponsored the eighth meeting of the Iranian-Turkish Supreme Council for Cooperation.
Although the Iranian and Turkish sides announced the intention of Presidents Raisi and Erdogan to formulate a joint response regarding the ongoing Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, and to discuss the escalation in the Middle East, the composition of the accompanying Iranian delegation indicates that economic cooperation dominates the agenda on the agenda of the discussions.
On the eve of the visit, Iranian government spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi had revealed that the Iranian and Turkish sides had put dots on the letters of several memorandums of understanding, most of which were in the economy, transport and trade, confirming the growth of trade exchanges between the two sides by 40% during the past two years.
While Jahromi refrained from providing fuller details about foreign trade between his country and its eastern neighbor, the spokesman for the International Relations and Trade Development Committee at the Iranian House of Industry, Commerce and Mines, Ruhollah Latifi, revealed that foreign trade between Tehran and Ankara amounted to 8 billion and 528 million dollars during the months. The first nine months of the Iranian year (from March 21 to December 21, 2023), recording a growth of 2.3% compared to the same period of the last Iranian year.
In an interview with Al Jazeera Net, Latifi explained that the volume of Iranian non-oil exports to Turkey during the first 9 months of the Persian calendar amounted to 6 million and 400 thousand tons, with a value of 3 billion and 263 million dollars, while imports amounted to 3 million tons, with a value of 5 billion and 265 million dollars. .
Iranian goods exports to Turkey increased during the same period – according to the same spokesman – by 12.5% in volume, but fell by 15% in value, while Iranian imports from Ankara increased by 12% in volume and 17% in value, compared to the first 9 months of the year. Last Iranian year.
Perhaps the deficit in the Iranian trade balance justifies the economic character that gives Raisi’s visit to Ankara, as Tehran and Ankara had previously targeted, during the government of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a trade level of $30 billion.
Ali Heydari, a journalist specializing in Iranian-Turkish relations, says that the participation of Raisi and Erdogan in the meeting of the Iranian-Turkish Supreme Council for Iranian-Turkish Cooperation tops the agenda of the visit, and that the two sides will discuss several economic and trade files, in addition to other security and diplomatic issues.
Speaking to Al Jazeera Net, Heydari believes that strengthening trade cooperation between the two countries will form a cornerstone in the Iranian-Turkish discussions in Ankara. The researcher in Iranian-Turkish relations also summarized the most important economic files that Raisi has on his sleeve according to the following:
- Exporting surplus electricity to Türkiye.
- Ineffective Western sanctions.
- Launching free trade zones on the common borders.
- Opening a new border crossing.
- Combating drug smuggling and irregular migration.
- Strengthening cooperation in the field of goods transit.
- Supporting tourism exchange, as the balance is currently tilted in favor of Türkiye.
Shared files and concerns
Heydari expected that both the Iranian and Turkish presidents would sponsor the signing ceremony of a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding at various levels, especially “fighting terrorism,” and specifically confronting the Kurdish movements hostile to both parties, which take the mountainous regions in northern Iraq as a starting point to carry out their operations inside Iranian territory or Turkish.
When referring to the Iranian Supreme Leader’s confirmation Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Regarding the necessity of cutting off Israel's vital arteries, Heydari expects the Iranian president to raise the issue of Ankara's trade with Tel Aviv, and to demand that his Turkish counterpart cut off trade with Israel, especially energy transfer projects, to force Tel Aviv to accept a truce in Gaza.
On Tuesday, the Iranian Supreme Leader renewed his demand for “Islamic countries to sever their political and economic relations with the Zionist entity,” criticizing the behavior of some Islamic capitals towards the Palestinian issue and their talk about a ceasefire, which he described as “beyond their control,” stressing that “it is in the hands of officials in Islamic countries cut off the vital arteries of the Zionist entity, and do not help this entity.”
The Iranian journalist expected that the Turkish side would raise the issue of its military movements in Syrian Aleppo and Idlib with the Iranian guest, in addition to the issue of extending… Zangzour Pass To connect the Azerbaijani province of Nakhchivan with Baku via Armenian territory, which Tehran rejects outright.