Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have held talks about key bilateral, regional and international issues.
The Iranian foreign minister met the Turkish president in Ankara on Friday in the fist visit by a high-ranking Iranian dignitary to Turkey since the failed July 15 coup attempt in the country.
Zarif said during the three-hour-long meeting, which featured luncheon, the two “discussed regional issues, particularly [the crisis in] Syria and the Iran-Turkey cooperation in this regard.”
They also agreed to expand cooperation in the energy, transport and environment sectors, and to raise the volume of bilateral trade to USD 30 billion, the Iranian foreign minister told IRNA before leaving Ankara for Tehran.
The meeting came after Zarif held talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu and attended a joint press conference with him.
Iran, Turkey pledge to fight terrorism
During his joint presser with Cavusoglu, the Iranian foreign minister said Tehran and Ankara have a common goal to improve cooperation on the fight against terrorism and extremism despite their differences on some issues.
“The two countries have a common opinion and goal to jointly fight terrorism, extremism and sectarianism, and despite the existence of different views on some issues, we share a common stance on [protecting] Syria’s territorial integrity” and fighting Daesh and Jabhat Fath al-Sham terrorists, Zarif said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) gives a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in the Turkish capital Ankara on August 12, 2016.
He emphasized that Iran “has always had positive dialogues with Turkey on the Syria subject,” adding that Tehran and Ankara share the view that the Arab country’s future must be decided by the Syrian people.
The top Iranian diplomat went on to say that Tehran would strengthen its cooperation with Ankara in different fields.
Zarif also hailed the improvement of Russia-Turkey relations and their new efforts to stem the conflict in Syria.
“We also have great ties with Russia on the [Syrian] issue and we believe that all parties must cooperate to provide security and peace and stop the conflicts” in the region, the Iranian foreign minister said, adding, “We are ready to co-operate with both Turkey and Syria on this issue.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif congratulated the Turkish government and nation for successfully thwarting a coup attempt last month.
“I congratulate the Turkish nation for the defiance they showed against the coup-plotters,” he said, adding, “They showed the people of the region that they would not allow democracy and their rights to be taken away from them through coups and the use of force.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) shakes hands with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu during a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Ankara on August 12, 2016. ©AFP
On the night of July 15, a faction of the Turkish military declared itself in charge of the country. Tanks and helicopters were used by the renegade military personnel to fight government loyalists on the streets of the capital Ankara and the most populous city of Istanbul.
However, the coup attempt was suppressed as people turned out on the streets to support the incumbent government.
Shortly following the coup attempt, Zarif and Cavusoglu exchanged views on the foiled putsch in three separate phone calls.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visits the Turkish parliament building in Ankara on August 12, 2016.
In the Friday press conference, the Turkish foreign minister also said Iran and Turkey agree on a number of issues, “especially on Syrian territorial integrity.”
“On some issues, we have different views but we have never cut dialogue. We have emphasized since the outset [of the crisis in Syria] the importance of the constructive role Iran plays for a permanent solution in Syria,” he added.