Important for Turkey to keep trade relations with Iran - expert
Baku, Azerbaijan, March 4
By Farhad Daneshvar - Trend:
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's upcoming visit to Tehran is aimed at maintaining and continuing trade ties between Tehran and Ankara, an Iranian economist believes.
Jamshid Pazhouian, who is a prominent lecturer at Iran's Allameh Tabataba'i University and Islamic Azad University, told Trend that Turkey has been a main trade partner of Iran over the past three decades.
Saying that Turkey provided Iran with help during the sanctions-era, he added, obviously, it is of great importance for Turkey to maintain its position as a major partner and continue its trade ties with Iran.
Davutoglu leading an economic and politic delegation is expected to arrive in Tehran this evening.
Pazhouian also speculated that Iran-Turkey's dispute over gas prices would be discussed during Davutiglu's visit to Tehran.
Despite the outstanding disagreements between Tehran and Ankara over gas prices as well as differences over the Syrian crisis, Iran and Turkey appear reluctant to spoil the trade ties.
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 appear 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.
Over the past five and following the Syrian crisis, Tehran and Moscow have supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey is among Syrian president's most outspoken critics.