The official ceremony of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Turkey and Iran has been held in the presence of both countries' presidents and ministers.
According to IRNA, the ceremony of inking the agreement of joint cooperation was held at Sa'daabad Historical Palace in capital Tehran on Tuesday before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi as well as some ministers from both countries.
The MoU comprises of cooperation in different fields of expansion of transit, cultural, scientific, sports, energy and agriculture exchanges as well as trade and economic interactions.
The document was signed by high-ranking delegations from Turkey and Iran in order to pave the way for expansion of cooperation in various areas.
President Erdogan who arrived in Tehran on Monday night attends the meeting of the Iran-Turkey high committee of cooperation.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is also to travel to Iran. The three presidents will attend the 7th summit of Astana peace summit to discuss the situation in Syria.
The seventh summit meeting of Astana peace process guarantors will be held with the presence of presidents of the three countries – Iran, Russia, and Turkey – in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Tuesday evening.
Presidents of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia Vladimir Putin, and Iran Ebrahim Raisi along with a Syrian official will hold talks in the Astana peace talks, stressing the need for respecting Syria's national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The summits were initiated in Kazakhstan's capital in January 2017, so the peace negotiations were called Astana peace talks back then.
The talks retained the same name as the Astana negotiations after Kazakhstan changed the name of its capital city to Nur-Sultan in 2019.
Tehran, Ankara Vow to Expand Trade
Tehran was the focus of attention on Tuesday. It hosted two presidents, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia.
Erdogan, who arrived in Tehran late on Monday, was welcomed by his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi at Saadabad Palace. Later, he went to meet Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, reported TehranTimes.
At the meeting, Erdogan listened to the Leader cautioning Ankara, who since May has threatened to take a military action to expand an existing 30-kilometer-deep security zone on the Syrian side of the Turkish border.
“This is definitely to the detriment of Syria, Turkey, and the region. It will not achieve the expected political results from the Syrian government,” the Leader said, adding that such operations will only help terrorists.
In response, Erdogan asked for Iran’s assistance in fighting terrorism, saying that the terrorists in northern Syria are equipped with heavy weaponry supplied by France, Germany, the UK, and the United States.
The topic was of utmost importance. So much so that it was also raised during Raisi and Erdogan’s intensive and somewhat long meeting held behind closed doors.
After their meeting, the two presidents talked to reporters in a joint press conference on the outcome of their talks.
“The security and intelligence agencies of the two countries can work for the security of the two countries. Also, the fight against terrorism, narcotics, and organized crimes were among the points emphasized by both countries in this meeting,” Raisi told reporters.
He then noted that terrorism may have different labels, but terrorism by anyone who threatens the security of the region should be confronted.
“We insist on dealing with terrorism under any pretext and we reject the contradictory point of view of the Westerners in this context,” Raisi underlined.
'Syria’s territorial integrity must be preserved’
Moving on to the Syrian crisis, Raisi said, “Cooperation between the two countries on regional issues was one of the things that was emphasized (in the meeting) and both countries insist on preserving the territorial integrity of Syria. Good relations between the two countries can lead to better regional and international relations, and these two countries can play a role in both regional and international security.”
For his part, Erdogan noted that he attaches great importance to cooperation between Turkey and Iran in defense industries.
“As Mr. Raisi said, our fight against terrorist organizations is of special importance. We have included terrorist organizations such as PKK, YPG and similar groups in the list of NATO terrorist organizations,” he said, adding that these organizations cause instability in any country they exist.
Tehran and Ankara must confront all these terrorist organizations, he remarked.
Raisi also spoke of both countries’ will to expand mutual trade, saying, “In the negotiations, the serious will of the two countries for improving the level of relations in various fields, including political, economic and other fields, were discussed and exchanged.”
Joint investment was one of the other points emphasized in the meeting, according to the Iranian president.
“This level of trade and economic relations between the two countries is definitely not enough and it can move to a higher level, and in this process we have targeted a level up to three times higher than the current amount, i.e. up to thirty billion dollars,” Raisi stated.
Erdogan, on the other hand, spoke of his belief that with the efforts of both sides, especially in the field of defense industry and taking steps in the field of oil and gas, Tehran and Ankara can enjoy a smoother cooperation.
7th High Council of Iran-Turkey Cooperation held
According to the Turkish president, the seventh meeting of the High Council of Iran-Turkey Strategic Relations was convened on Tuesday.
“We finished the seventh meeting of Turkey-Iran Cooperation Council before this meeting and I am sure that our consultations will improve our relations,” Erdogan noted.
Expanding trade with Turkey in the current circumstances is of utmost importance for Iran, as it is struggling with the illegal U.S. sanctions. As mentioned by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Tehran and Ankara have stood by each other through thick and thin, and with Erdogan’s condemnation of U.S. unilateral sanctions and his all-out support for Tehran’s logical demands in the negotiations intended to lift sanctions, the two neighbors can hit the projected trade level.
As for combating terrorism, the ultimate solution to the Syrian conflict is not any sort of aggression. Diplomatic talks between the most influential players such as Tehran, Moscow, Ankara, and of course, Damascus can help bring peace, security, and stability to Syria, and the region.