Türkiye and Iran need to continue to fight terrorist groups in solidarity, as they stir up trouble for both countries, the Turkish president said in the Iranian capital Tehran on Tuesday.
"The PJAK, PKK, PYD, YPG, and FETO terrorist organizations are troublemakers for both Türkiye and Iran. We need to continue the fight against them in solidarity,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a press conference alongside his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi, citing a list of offshoots or allies of the PKK, a terror group that has taken some 40,000 lives, and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the defeated coup in 2016.
"As you know, we have now included them in NATO records,” he added, referring to a recent memorandum on Sweden and Finland’s membership bids. “They are troublemakers that disturb the peace in whatever country they are in. Therefore, we need to continue our struggle against them in solidarity."
8 agreements, boosting trade ties
Earlier co-chairing the 7th meeting of the Türkiye-Iran High-Level Cooperation Council to enhance bilateral cooperation, the two leaders signed eight agreements in the areas of trade, social security, and sports.
Erdogan said he believed that the countries will boost their bilateral trade volume to $30 billion.
"Unfortunately, we faced a serious setback due to the COVID-19 outbreak. As of now, we have reached $7.5 billion. I believe that the two countries will reach $30 billion again.
"It is possible to accelerate this process with the steps that we will take in the defense industry. This can be accelerated with steps to be taken in both oil and natural gas," he added.
Astana process for Syria
Later in the day, Erdogan, Raisi, and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet for the 7th Trilateral Summit Meeting in the Astana format to discuss the latest developments in Syria, and the fight against terror groups, particularly the PKK and its Syrian offshoot the YPG/PKK and Daesh/ISIS.
On the trilateral meeting in Tehran, Erdogan said the meeting will be a reevaluation of the 2017 Astana process.
The Astana process was launched in 2017 to restore peace in Syria, which has been ravaged by a civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protesters with unexpected ferocity.
On the signing of the eight agreements, Erdogan later said on Twitter: "I believe that our visit will give a new impetus to our relations."
"As President Mr. Raisi has stated, our fight against terrorism is of great importance," he added.
"I hope that our in-depth discussions in political, military, economic, commercial, cultural and all other fields will be beneficial for Türkiye and Iran," he added.
Erdogan's visit 'turning point' in Iran-Türkiye ties: Raisi
Iran and Türkiye on Tuesday agreed to extend their gas supply contract for another 25 years and set an ambitious trade target of $30 billion.
The agreements came during a meeting between Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Tehran.
In his remarks at a joint presser with Erdogan after delegation-level talks, Raisi said the Turkish president’s visit to Tehran marks an "important turning point" in improving the level of cooperation between the two neighboring countries.
Raisi stressed that the level of trade and economic ties between Tehran and Ankara was not enough and can be moved to a higher level, adding that the $30 billion target of trade volume is achievable.
In the presence of the two presidents, Iran and Türkiye signed eight memoranda of understanding in political, economic, sports, and cultural fields after their bilateral talks.
According to a statement by the president's office, the agreements signed between the two sides include a comprehensive plan for long-term cooperation, support for small economic enterprises, radio and television cooperation, and cooperation between government departments among others.
The visit is the first by the Turkish president to Tehran since the formation of the new government in Iran last year.
The two leaders had met on the sidelines of the ECO Summit in Turkmenistan last November where they agreed on "comprehensive improvement of ties.”
Erdogan arrived in the Iranian capital late on Monday. Besides bilateral talks, he will also take part in trilateral talks with Raisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Astana Format.
The agreement to boost trade ties came shortly after Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in his meeting with the Turkish president that there was scope to expand economic ties between the two countries.
The target of a $30 billion trade volume was originally set between the two countries before former US President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018.
Raisi expressed hope that the strategic cooperation document signed between the two sides on Tuesday will contribute to the "consolidation of bilateral relations".
He said the two sides also agreed on the development of industrial towns and science and technology parks with the help of knowledge-based industries.
The Iranian president further said that the two sides discussed security cooperation, especially in securing joint borders. He said the security and intelligence bodies of the two countries can work together in bolstering security and fighting terrorism, narcotics, and organized crimes.
The two sides, he remarked, also discussed regional issues of common interest and emphasized that the two nations must fight terrorism that threatens their security.
He said terrorism may have different names but it endangers the security of the region and must be taken into consideration.
Raisi stressed that good relations between the two countries can lead to "better regional and international relations" and both countries can play a role in bolstering regional and international security.