Development minister visits Iran for talks on economy
Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz visited Tehran on Sunday to meet with Iranian officials on problems with bilateral economics due to a number of issues, including those involving transportation and natural gas.
Yılmaz, who heads the Joint Economic Committee between Iran and Turkey, will be in Tehran until Wednesday to focus on a recently disputed breach by Iranian transportation vehicles of a protocol between Iran and Turkey, according to a Ministry of Development press release issued on Saturday.
Iranian trucks are normally not authorized to transport goods from Turkey to third-party countries, as the two countries do not have an agreement on the practice. Turkish businessmen have complained about an illegal practice adopted by Iranian trucks, declaring themselves as heading for Iran on paperwork but actually going to third-party countries with goods picked up in Turkey.
There is also an ongoing economic dispute between the two countries over the high price of natural gas Turkey buys from Iran. Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız said in March that the government is getting ready to sue the Middle Eastern country's administration at an international court of arbitration for a settlement the two countries have not been able to reach on their own. There is no official agreement between the two countries over the price Turkey pays for Iranian natural gas.
Turkey is now looking to decrease its economic ties with its southern neighbor due to international economic pressures. Recently, it increased efforts to diversify its oil imports to reduce its dependence to Iranian oil in order to avoid US sanctions that are expected to take effect in the coming months against countries buying oil from Iran. Yıldız said Turkey plans to purchase 1 million tons of crude oil from Libya in 2012 through the Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation (TÜPRAŞ) following a decision to reduce the country's crude oil purchases from Iran by 20 percent.