Turkey, Iran seek to mend ties through high-level visit

ANKARA, March 4 (Xinhua) — Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is expected to make a two-day official visit to Iran to promote ties and smooth out growing differences between the two neighbors over Syria and Iraq.

The visit, scheduled to start on Friday afternoon, comes days before a round of peace talks on March 9 to be held under the auspices of U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura in Geneva.

Turkey supports opposition rebel forces in Syria and considers president Bashar al-Assad regime to be illegitimate. Iran, along with Russia, stands by Assad and provides military backing to the government forces.

“Both Turkey and Iran need each other as they are being impacted by what has been happening in their neighborhood,” Mehmet Seyfettin Erol, professor of international relations at Ankara-based Gazi University, told Xinhua.

“As the major powers gear up for peace talks for Syria, Turkey and Iran, the two regional heavyweights must be able to talk to each other frankly,” he said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu acknowledged last week in Parliament that both countries have different views on regional matters.

Davutoglu’s visit also aimed to tap into Iranian market after a July 2015 sanctions-ending deal with world powers on its nuclear program.

The visit was organized “to develop and reinforce political, cultural and economic ties and cooperation” between the two countries, Iranian embassy in Ankara said in a statement on Thursday.

By Shanghai Daily