Iran-Turkey dispute over gas prices unlikely to affect trade ties

Iran-Turkey dispute over gas prices unlikely to affect trade ties

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 14

By Farhad Daneshvar - Trend:

Despite the outstanding disagreements between Tehran and Ankara over gas prices, Iran and Turkey appear reluctant to spoil trade ties.

As soon as the reports regarding the International Court of Arbitration's verdict on gas dispute between Tehran and Ankara appeared, a number of international and local media outlets devoted some space for the story covering various angles, but some bias and hasty.

Iranian conservative media that basically is after picking faults with moderate President Hassan Rouhani's administration raised its voice criticizing Rouhani for the loss while a number of international media highlighted Turkey's win against Iran giving the sense that the ties between the two traditional partners are coming into conflict.

According to a deal inked in 1996 between Tehran and Ankara, Iran is committed to provide Turkey with some 30 million cubic meters of gas per day. Back in March 2012 Ankara filed a complaint against Iran in the International Court of Arbitration requesting for a 25 percent price reduction. The controversy stirred up in early February when media sources reported that the court has ruled in favor of a 10-15 percent price discount.

Although the controversy seems to many as a sore point in the ties of the neighboring countries, Iran-Turkey ties are here to continue given the considerable trade turnover over the past several years as well as $10 billion gas trade per year.

The trade turnover between the countries was $13.71 billion in 2014 and $9.76 billion in 2015.

Although the trade turnover dropped by 29 percent in 2015 compared to the preceding year, many observers believe that the decline came amid global economic crisis ruling out the role of the political and economic disagreements in the decline.

Iranian Ambassador to Ankara Alireza Bikdeli has forecasted a profitable year for Iran and Turkey describing the ties between the neighboring countries as friendly.

"A profitable year [Iranian new year to start March 21] is coming. The train of ties between Iran and Turkey will keep moving on the rails of friendship," Bikdeli wrote on his Facebook page.

On the other hand the Turkish presidential administration has told Trend that "Tehran is Ankara's economic partner".

Now with the new economic and political developments in the world including the partial removal of international sanctions against the Islamic Republic and also the sharp decline in oil prices as well as global financial crisis, preparing a new economic plan including a revision of gas prices seems as a crucial step on the path to cement economic ties between Tehran and Ankara.

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