Speaking in a Wednesday press conference after meeting his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, Erdogan stressed that the regional issues are definitely on the agenda and the issue of Iraq is at the top.
The president of Turkey noted both Tehran and Ankara have already emphasized that they will not recognize the illegal referendum held by the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
“Turkey has a 350-kilometre border with the Iraqi Kurdistan region. In the east of this region, Iran is a neighbour, Iraq’s central government is located in the south of the region, and Syria is in the west,” emphasized Erdogan.
“I cannot understand what the Iraqi Kurdistan region is doing. Currently, no one except Israel supports the region.”
“In our view, the decision taken by sitting at the table with the Mossad is in no way legitimate and acceptable,” said the Turkish president.
“I am sure that the president of the Iraqi Kurdistan region will not achieve anything by making a decision while seated at a table next to a well-known person (on his right) and another one (on his left). This only leads to his own isolation.”
“We (Iran and Turkey) have taken a firm stance, and this firm stance is clear to all; we only recognize the central government of Iraq,” added Erdogan.
Erdogan once again emphasized that the referendum on the Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence is definitely illegitimate, saying “as you know, we have taken special measures and we have implemented some of them.”
Erdogan said both Iran and the central government of Iraq and Turkey have taken measures in relation to the Iraqi Kurdistan region, and stricter measures will be taken later.
Turkey, Iran, Russia Working to Resolve Syria Crisis
About their policy on Syria, he said, “Similarly, in Syria, we have activated a trilateral mechanism. There, Iran, Russia and Turkey started the Astana Talks on Syria and took steps in this regard.”
The president of Turkey stated that “in Syria, de-escalation zones are very important for us.”
“I am confident that as a result of our joint struggles against terrorist groups, including ISIS and al-Nusra Front in Syria, we will be able to assist the oppressed people of that country,” underscored Erdogan.
“I am sure that our joint supports for all the oppressed people of the world is a duty.”
Erdogan told the press conference that respective Iranian and Turkish ministers, the armed forces of the two countries and intelligence units are taking all necessary measures in this regard in the region.
Tens of Thousands of Turkish Tourists to Visit Iran
After senior officials from Iran and Turkey signed cooperation agreements in the presence of the two country’s presidents, Erdogan said, “Today, I am here upon the invitation of my dear brother President Rouhani. First of all, I need to appreciate the Iranians’ hospitality.”
“I also congratulate President Rouhani on his victory and re-election as the president in this year’s election that was held with a huge turnout. Hereby, once again I wish success for President Rouhani, his friends and companions, and the government of Iran.”
The Turkish president also offered condolences on the 1378th anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS) and his companions in the year 60 AH. Erdogan also saluted Imam Hussein (AS) and his father Imam Ali (AS).
“May God make these blessed days (of month Muharram as a chance) to strengthen the unity, brotherhood and fraternity between Muslims and the world of Islam,” he added.
The Turkish president also mentioned that next to the bilateral meeting with Rouhani, the fourth meeting of the High Council of Strategic Cooperation was held in a very good atmosphere.
“During these negotiations, we discussed all dimensions of bilateral relations, including political, military, social, and tourism fields in detail,” said Erdogan.
He noted that during this visit, the ministers of the two countries also discussed the respective issues.
“I am confident that the meeting of the High Council of Strategic Cooperation will lead to expansion of ties between Tehran and Ankara, and the process of boosting bilateral relations will continue in a positive direction.”
“Of course, earlier President Rouhani and I had agreed to increase the trade volume between Turkey and Iran to $30 billion but unfortunately, in recent years, the trade volume between the two countries remained at $10 billion.”
Erdogan underlined that during the meeting of the High Council of Strategic Cooperation the two sides advised the ministers to follow up issues in various areas including energy, tourism, transportation, and even defence industries.
“Meanwhile, we decided to work with the central banks of the two countries, ease cooperation between other banks of Iran and Turkey, and help the finance sectors to increase ties in these fields.”
Erdogan also said that the two sides would conduct trade in their own currencies to limit foreign exchange pressures.
“As President Rouhani mentioned, the central bank officials of the two countries will sign a cooperation agreement. In addition, we decided to encourage the establishment of branches of Iranian and Turkish banks in the two countries,” Turkish President underscored.
“At the same time, we stressed to further strengthen the energy relations between Tehran and Ankara, as close cooperation in energy sector between the two countries is of great importance.”
He also touched upon the significance of mutual cultural cooperation, especially in tourism field.
“I am sure that by working together and strengthening ties in tourism field, tens of thousands of our citizens will travel to Iran which is a country with a long history of civilization,” he stated.
“Of course, the number of flights of Turkish airlines to Iran has already been high which indicates the importance of Iran for Turkey.”
“We have always encouraged the Turkish tourism investors to invest in Iran and they will be encouraged more,” he went on to say.
Turkish president went on to say that the Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation will hold its meeting on October 24 and 25, expressing hope that this meeting would be beneficial for both countries.
At the end, Erdogan once again appreciated the hospitality of the Islamic Republic of Iran.