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Iran

Turkish Prime Minister Calls For 'Common Perspective' With Iran

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
By RFE/RL

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says Ankara and Tehran must develop "common perspectives" in order to end sectarian strife in the region.

Davutoglu made the comments on March 5 during a visit to Tehran, the first in two years by a top Turkish leader.

"We may have different views, but we cannot change our history or our geography," he said, standing alongside Iranian Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri.

"It is extremely important for Turkey and Iran to develop some common perspectives in order to end our region's fight among brothers, to stop the ethnic and sectarian conflicts," he added. 

Jahangiri admitted "differences on some regional issues" but said Tehran is "determined to manage the differences to reach stability in the region."

Turkey and Iran are at odds over the war in Syria. 

Iran's Shi'ite regime supports the Shi'ite leadership of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey is among his most outspoken critics and backs the Sunni opposition. Turkey is also close to Sunni Saudi Arabia, which has cut its diplomatic ties with Iran.

Davutoglu's visit comes amid a cessation of hostilities in Syria sponsored by the United States, Russia, and the United Nations which has largely held for the past week.

It also takes place days before the planned resumption of Syrian peace talks in Geneva. 

Despite their differences on Syria, Turkey and Iran have largely maintained cordial diplomatic relations over the years. 

Davutoglu said his country is eager to boost trade relations with Iran now that the West has eased sanctions over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

"The main obstacle that prevented us from reaching our goal were the sanctions," he said. 

He voiced confidence that Turkey and Iran will soon exceed their previous trade target of $30 billion annually.

Trade between the two nations was $9.7 billion in 2015, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.

With reporting by Reuters and dpa

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