Iranian Ambassador to Ankara Alireza Bigdeli says the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey have set a target of nearly $16 billion in the volume of their bilateral trade transactions during the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21), Press TV reported.
Bigdeli said on Monday that Iran-Turkey trade turnover stood at $1.2 billion in the first quarter of the year 2014 given the released monthly reports, adding that the figure would rise to $20 billion once a preferential trade agreement signed by the two countries is enforced, IRNA reported.
Iran and Turkey have signed a preferential trade agreement which could pave the way for a hike in the bilateral trade. The agreement was signed during Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Tehran in January. At the time, Erdogan said the goal is to boost trade between the two neighbors to $30 billion by 2015.
The Iranian ambassador further stated that the incumbent Iranian administration plans to engage in talks with Turkish officials in order to set up a joint free trade zone in Salmas city near the border with Turkey in order to further increase economic interactions.
On January 23, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz said Turkey is determined to boost the level of its bilateral trade volume with Iran.
He said Turkey imported $7.6 billion worth of Iranian natural gas and crude oil in 2013, which is a huge figure.
The figure, Yildiz further noted, included $4.5 billion worth of natural gas and $3.1 billion of crude oil.
Turkey seeks to raise the level of its trade transactions with Iran within a logical and legal framework, he pointed out.
On November 26, 2013, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his country can become an energy corridor for its eastern oil- and gas-rich neighbor, Iran.
"Turkey's annual energy demand is $60 billion. Turkey is a corridor country, Iran is a producer country. If we fuse both potentials, Turkey could become the corridor for energy provider Iran," Davutoglu said.
Iran is Turkey's second biggest gas supplier after Russia. Turkey uses a significant portion of its imported Iranian natural gas to generate electricity.