TEHRAN (Today’s Zaman)—Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was in Tehran on Tuesday for talks with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki where he told the head Iranian diplomat that Ankara’s relationship with Tehran is “very special.”
Speaking at a joint press conference, Davutoglu said that he held comprehensive talks with Mottaki on Tuesday and that identical meetings would continue in the future.
“We reached excellent economic, political and cultural relations with Iran. During our talks on Tuesday, we went over our relations,” Davutoglu said. “We discussed ways to increase our mutual trade volume of 10 billion USD to 20 billion USD soon. Our relations will keep growing.”
Davutoglu said that “important developments” were taking place in the region that required joint attention from Iran and Turkey. “Important developments in the region have to do with the elections in Iraq, the post-election status and efforts to form a government in Iraq.”
“Iraq is an important friend and neighbor of both Turkey and Iran. Iraq’s establishment of internal stability and support of its neighbors without interfering in Iraq’s domestic issues are crucial for a strong regional atmosphere,” he added.
Iran’s Nuclear Program
Davutoglu said the most important item on his trip’s agenda was Iran’s nuclear program. “I shared my observations at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. with our Iranian friends,” he said.
“Turkey has a special responsibility in all issues on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council as a member of the Council. Turkey is especially interested in issues pertaining to Iran. Turkey has always made it clear that nuclear technology should be the right of every country as long as it is used for peaceful purposes,” Davutoglu said.
“Nonetheless, nuclear weapons should be opposed any where in the world as these weapons are a threat to humanity,” he added. “The way to resolve uneasiness should be through diplomacy and not mutual tensions, military options or sanctions.”
“Resolving debates on Iran’s nuclear program would contribute to both regional and global peace,” Davutoglu said.
Possible New Sanctions
In response to a question on whether Turkey would support new US-led sanctions against Iran, Davutoglu said that Turkey was a country in the UN Security Council, a neighbor of Iran and a country with deep historical relations.
“Turkey is the country that would be affected the most by decisions taken on Iran at the UN Security Council. We are trying to resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear program before any sanctions are brought to the agenda of the Council. Our regional vision is based on high volume of economic relations, high level dialogue in the Middle East, mutual economic dependency, and turning the region into one of prosperity and stability,” Davutoglu said.
Davutoglu said Turkey is among the largest economies in the region and has to protect “her interests with neighboring countries, including with Iran.”
“We believe that there is still a great chance for diplomacy,” he stressed.
“Through diplomacy, we believe that we can prevent all other possible negative developments and find new alternatives. God willing, we will create solutions with Iran and the international community,” Davutoglu said.
Mottaki, in his part, said that Davutoglu and he discussed bilateral relations, Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.
“We had a chance to exchange views with Davutoglu,” Mottaki said.
Davutoglu later met with the Secretary General of Iran’s Supreme National Council and chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.