Turkey's largest business organization has visited Iran in a bid to boost economic and trade ties with the neighboring country in the post-sanctions era.
A delegation from the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey's (TOBB), chaired by Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, described Iran as Turkey's “natural trade partner.”
“Iran is both our neighbor and natural trade partner. We can boost our economic, trade and investment relations with our Iranian counterparts. We have seen this potential and held a series of key meetings to realize this potential” said Hisarcıklıoğlu in a written statement on March 3.
He noted that it is “almost impossible” to find a vacancy in Iran's hotels as the country has been receiving thousands of business delegations from many countries, including Italy, Austria and many others.
Foreign business delegations have flocked to Tehran since the United States, the European Union and the United Nations lifted international sanctions in January after reaching a deal to curb and monitor Iran's disputed nuclear program. A number of global companies have already signed business deals with the Iran, which had been closed for years.
The International Monetary Fund expects Iran's economy to expand 4.3 percent this year, with growth at or above 4 percent in the next two years. It also sees Iran's imports expanding 18 percent this year, 14 percent next year and 7 percent the year after.
TOBB Secretary General Mustafa Saraçöz, Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV) Managing Director Güven Sak, and a number of foreign economic relations experts met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's chief of staff, Mohammad Nahavandian, Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mining and Agriculture (ICCIMA) Chairman Mohsen Jalalpour, and members of the ICCIMA board on March 2.
“We talked about the required steps to strengthen the private sector in Iran. We discussed what to do to boost ties bilaterally as well as with third parties together,” said Hisarcıklıoğlu, adding that a strategic partnership can be established between TOBB and ICCIMA.
“We want to prepare a roadmap. In this vein, another delegation headed by TOBB board member Memiş Kütükçü will visit Tehran this week to create a business plan,” he added.
Davutoğlu's Iran visit ‘of great importance'
Hisarcıklıoğlu also noted that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's scheduled visit to Iran will be of great importance in terms of developing closer ties and opening doors for new deals.
Davutoğlu is due to travel to Iran on March 4 and 5.
“Just as political pressure did not damage our bilateral ties, disagreements over regional issues should not prevent us from working together today. There is no problem between Turkey and Iran. We cannot accept any hindrance in our bilateral relations due to some third parties,” said Hisarcıklıoğlu.
“Iran has one of the richest energy resources of the world. I believe the economic relations between Turkey and Iran will gain a significant momentum with the lifting of sanctions. We have already had many investments in Iran's food, furniture and auto parts industries, among others. New business opportunities will rise for Turkish construction players in Iran … I believe Turkish businesspeople will act quickly in raising their hands in Iran,” he added.