Iran, Turkey see no harm in opinion split
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Turkey and Iran have said they see no harm in “naturally” having varying opinions on topics that are of concern to the region, while also stressing that both sides are open to more cooperation during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s official visit to Ankara.
“It is a fact that there are some differences of opinions on regional matters between Turkey and Iran,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan alongside Rouhani during a joint press conference in Ankara on April 16.
“But I gladly express that we agree that the bloodshed in the region must be stopped,” Erdoğan added.
“We both agree that approaching developments in our region from a sectarian basis will not benefit [anyone]. On the contrary this will have devastating effects. What is defining for us is that we are together [with Iran] under the title of Islam [and we] walk together in solidarity to the future,” he said.
For his part, Rouhani said it was “natural” for there to be “small differences” between Iran and Turkey, but they are open for more consultation and cooperation.
“There may be narrow differences [with Turkey]. We may think differently, which is very natural. But we are always ready for more consultation and cooperation with regional countries, especially in fight against terrorism and presenting Islam correctly to the world,” said Rouhani on April 16.
Erdoğan said it was for the advantage of both of the countries to decrease differences of opinions by enhancing political dialogue and increasing the common areas among the countries to the utmost.
“This way I believe we can get results right away, especially if we provide solutions from inside this region and not from outside,” the Turkish president said, stressing that an “important responsibility” lay on Turkey and Iran as “two prominent countries” of the region.
Rouhani was in Turkey to attend the 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Istanbul on April 14 and April 15. From there, Rouhani traveled to Ankara, where he first met with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
Rouhani’s meeting with Erdoğan and Davutoğlu came a day after the OIC summit communique criticized Iran for “supporting terrorism.”
Rouhani said the meeting with “my brother Mr. Erdoğan” saw a comprehensive discussion of bilateral relations.
“The economies of Iran and Turkey are complementary,” said Rouhani, adding that his country and Turkey should take swift action to boost trade between the two countries in the wake of the lifting of sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program.
“How happy it is that this session took place in a time [after] the embargo was lifted, preparing an environment and foundation for improving cooperation between our two countries in various domains,” he said. “To reach this aim, we have to accelerate [cooperation] and remove all hurdles in the path.”
Following the Turkish-Iranian High-Level Cooperation Council meeting, the two leaders issued a joint statement stressing the importance of maintaining political dialogue on bilateral and regional issues.
“The talks took place in a warm, friendly atmosphere,” the statement said.
The two leaders also agreed that the region is being harmed by extremism, terrorism, and sectarianism, according to the statement.