By Diyar Guldogan
Ankara and Tehran need to prevent the U.S. sanctions from impeding the neighboring countries to reach their bilateral targets, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.
"We must stop the U.S. sanction decision on Iran from impeding us to reach our targets," Erdogan said at the Turkey-Iran Business Forum in the Turkish capital Ankara.
He said Turkey is ready to do its part to reach desired level of bilateral ties with Iran.
"No one should expect us to end economic and trade relations with Iran due to the sanctions," the Turkish president added.
Erdogan said he believes the sanctions on Iran could be transformed into an opportunity for both countries to enhance their bilateral relations.
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.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, for his part, said Tehran faces "cruel and unjust" embargo.
Economic potentials 'more than ever'
"This embargo can be both a threat and damage. It can both decrease our trade volume and limit our relations. However, we can make a good plan and transform these threats into opportunities," Rouhani said.
He said the economic potentials between the countries are "more than ever".
The Iranian president invited Turkish businessmen to invest in his country in the field of energy.
"We are ready to allocate all necessary substances, ports, regions and facilities to the investors, if Turkish investors want to invest in any area in Iran to build refinery and to operate in the field of petrochemicals," Rouhani said.
Erdogan said Rouhani's visit constitutes a milestone in negotiations of extending Preferential Trade Agreement.
He added the countries want to increase the bilateral trade volume to $30 billion.
The president also stressed the regional security lay burden on Turkey and Iran.
Erdogan said trilateral meeting on Syria with Russia and Iran will continue, adding: "We need to ensure regional security so that we can also ensure and develop our economic security."
Early Thursday, the two leaders attended the 5th Meeting of the Turkey-Iran High Level Cooperation Council, where they discussed bilateral relations, and regional and international developments.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.