The new crossing, between Kapıköy in eastern Anatolia's Van province and Iran's West Azerbaijan province, was inaugurated on Saturday by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi. The Kapıköy-Razi border gate issue has always been on the agenda of talks between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in recent years, Davutoğlu said in his speech delivered at the inauguration ceremony.
“The fundamental principle we have applied in foreign policy for eight years is deepening friendships, intensifying and growing fraternity. This is why we have a ‘zero problem policy.’ This is why we said border gates are not walls for us, but doors of fraternity. We said we will make all doors with our neighbors, particularly with Iran, doors of friendship and fraternity,” Davutoğlu was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency. “We said that in this way, let siblings meet, mingle with each other; and let the fraternity which comes from the depths of history be transferred to the future generations. These principles have come true with the opening of Kapıköy,” Davutoğlu said.
The Turkish minister announced that a fourth crossing between Esendere, Hakkari and Sero, Orumeyeh, would be opened in June and that the Maku crossing will follow. A fifth will follow at Dilucu, Iğdır, in the coming months, Davutoğlu added. “In this way, all doors between Iran and Turkey will be opened. In this way historical friendships will solidify and will be transferred on to future generations,” he said, calling on both Iranians and Turks to use these border gates to mingle with one another.
“Our prime minister has set a target of $30 billion” in annual trade with Iran, he also said. “That is why we are opening this border crossing. We are declaring to the world that Turkey and Iran will remain friends for eternity. The Peoples of Van and Hoy will live as neighbors and siblings for eternity, he added. “Let our gate be the door that opens hearts and minds.” For his part, Salehi said the opening of the new border gates will help the development of border areas and the welfare of its residents. “This border is a symbol of peace and friendship and the resurrection of the Silk Road, which for centuries played an important role in making the economy of the region flourish,” Salehi was quoted as saying by Iranian media, as he reiterated the common goal of increasing the trade volume to $30 billion.