Turkiye, Politics, Middle East

Foreign ministers of Turkey, Iran vow to bolster cooperation

Mevlut Cavusoglu meets with Iranian counterpart, president in capital Tehran during official visit

Nazli Yuzbasioglu and Syed Zafar Mehdi   | 15.11.2021
Foreign ministers of Turkey, Iran vow to bolster cooperation

ANKARA, Turkey / TEHRAN, Iran

The top diplomats of Turkey and Iran held wide-ranging talks in Tehran on Monday, focusing on "long-term cooperation" between the countries based on a "new roadmap."

Turkey wants to improve its deep-rooted relations with Iran and hold the seventh meeting of the high-level cooperation council between the two countries this year, Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a press meeting with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

"Our delegations will work to determine a roadmap for a long-term comprehensive cooperation upon Iran's proposal," Cavusoglu said, adding that they hoped to sign these agreements before the end of the summit if they are completed in time.

Cavusoglu also said that they discussed security issues such as terrorism, migration, and human smuggling with his Iranian counterpart.

Iran nuclear deal

He noted that Turkey has expressed on all platforms that unilateral sanctions against Tehran are wrong and that "all parties should take the necessary steps" to make the Iran nuclear deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), operational again.

The JCPOA is a 2015 agreement signed by Iran and the five world powers: the US, Russia, China, France, and the UK, plus Germany.

Iran and the EU announced recently that they would resume stalled talks in Vienna on Nov. 29, ending months of uncertainty.

Underlining that Turkey welcomed this announcement and that unilateral sanctions against Iran should be lifted, Cavusoglu said: "Those who withdrew from this agreement (JCPOA) need especially to take the necessary steps."

"The positive outcome of these talks will be important not only for our economic relations but also for the stability of the region," he added.

Noting that important developments are transpiring in the region, Cavusoglu said: "It's more important than ever that we continue our dialogue and cooperate on regional issues."

Citing the situation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and the Gulf, he also said work needed to continue for a political solution in Syria and that Turkey is willing to work closely with Iran on these issues, as well as for the stability of the South Caucasus region.

Voicing concern on Afghanistan, Cavusoglu said that the views of Ankara and Tehran overlap on many issues related to lasting peace and stability in the country that has been struggling with humanitarian crisis and economic difficulties. "It is our desire to establish an inclusive, all-embracing government," he added.

High-level cooperation council

Asked about when the next meeting of the high-level cooperation council would be held between Turkey and Iran, Cavusoglu said: "We hope to hold it within this year."

He also noted that preparations must be completed for the meeting to be result-oriented, and said: "We want to hold this visit and the high-level cooperation council meeting, not only to come together but also to once again imbue our relations with momentum."

Later on Monday, the Turkish official wrote on Twitter: "Reviewed the preparations of 7th Meeting of the High Level Cooperation Council with FM @Amirabdolahian of #Iran."

"Agreed to define a roadmap for a long-term comprehensive cooperation," he said, adding that they had also discussed regional issues, including Afghanistan and Syria.

Trip to Lebanon

Asked about his coming trip to Lebanon on Tuesday, Cavusoglu said at the press conference that it was "a good coincidence" that his Beirut visit came after Tehran.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry had announced on Monday that Cavusoglu would pay an official visit to Lebanon, where he and his interlocutors will discuss possible steps towards further enhancing Ankara's bilateral relations with Beirut, along with regional and international developments.

In addition to talks with his Lebanese counterpart, Cavusoglu is also scheduled to be received by the country's president, parliament speaker, and prime minister.

Cavusoglu was later also received by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, with whom he discussed "bilateral relations, including trade, investments and fight against terrorism & the latest developments in our region," he said on Twitter, sharing a photo from the meeting.

"Reaffirmed our mutual will to further develop our relations," added the Turkish foreign minister.

'Lot of consensus' between Iran and Turkey

For his part, Iran's Amir-Abdollahian told reporters alongside Cavusoglu that the two sides agreed on a roadmap for long-term cooperation, adding that there was a "lot of consensus" between them on regional issues.

The discussions between the two officials, Amir-Abdollahian said, also dealt with bilateral trade, private sector investments, and effective means of lifting trade barriers between their countries.

He said the two sides would go beyond bilateral issues and explore avenues of trilateral and multilateral cooperation as well, referring to "existing capacities" in the region.

Cavusoglu arrived in Tehran on Monday morning on his first visit to the country since Amir-Abdollahian took over as the new top Iranian diplomat.

The Iranian foreign minister hailed relations between the two countries as "historic and friendly" and said the coronavirus pandemic had caused a decline in their cooperation over the last two years, voicing hope that it would "reach its highest point soon."

He said that a document on long-term cooperation between the two sides would be signed during a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Tehran, without specifying the date.

Amir-Abdollahian said regional and international issues also came up for discussion between the two sides, including the situation in Afghanistan, stressing the need to form an inclusive government in Kabul.

He further said that both officials condemned a recent terrorist drone attack against Iraqi premier Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, expressing hope that the country's new government would be formed as soon as possible.

Commenting on the Yemeni crisis, he said both Iran and Turkey hoped the civil war in Yemen would end as soon as possible, along with the humanitarian siege surrounding the Muslim country.​​​​​​​

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