By Diyar Guldogan
Ankara and Tehran can take many joint steps to end clashes and ensure peace in the region, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.
"There are so many steps that Turkey and Iran can take together to end the clashes in our region and ensure a peaceful environment," Erdogan said at a news conference with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in the capital Ankara.
Erdogan said Turkey did not allow any entities seeking to harm the security of the country and the region, adding that it would not all allow them in the future.
Ankara and Tehran have a strong will to increase cooperation in this regard, he stressed.
Erdogan said this cooperation bore fruit during Astana peace talks process on Syria with the participation of Russia.
"We need to increase our efforts to ensure permanent peace that will embrace Syria and whole Syrian people," he added.
Rouhani, for his part, said Tehran agrees with Ankara on protecting Syria's territorial integrity.
"The fate of Syria should be determined only by the people of Syria. Everyone should respect Syria's territorial integrity and we [Iran and Turkey] completely agree on this," he said.
Rouhani also echoed Erdogan in his remarks that the two countries will continue cooperation to ensure peace and security in the region.
The next trilateral Syria meeting between Ankara, Tehran, Moscow will be held in Russia, he added.
The two presidents, ahead of the joint conference, attended the 5th Meeting of the Turkey-Iran High Level Cooperation Council, where they discussed bilateral relations, and regional and international developments.
Turkey disapproves US sanctions on Iran
Also addressing the U.S sanctions on Iran, Erdogan said Turkey does not approve the U.S. move since it leads to destabilization in region.
"We will continue to be in solidarity with brotherly Iran at a time when pressures on Iran mounts which we find unjust," he added.
Erdogan said Turkey is ready to take any measures to decrease negative impacts of the sanctions on the economic relations between Ankara and Tehran.
Meanwhile, Rouhani thanked Erdogan for his support against "unilateral and illegal" sanctions of Washington.
"This U.S. action against Iran is a 100 percent terrorist act,” said Iran’s president.
In August, the U.S. re-imposed a first round of sanctions that mainly targeted Iran’s banking sector.
A second phase of sanctions -- targeting Iran’s energy sector -- came into effect on Nov. 5, although Washington granted a 180-day reprieve to the eight largest buyers of Iranian oil, including Turkey.
On bilateral relations, Erdogan said Turkey and Iran should strengthen cooperation to reach $30B targeted bilateral trade volume.
The leaders agreed on continuous cooperation in the areas of industry, transportation, energy, tourism and culture, Rouhani said.