ANKARA: Turkish Minister Hopes For Success Of Iranian Nuclear Dialog


Anatolia News Agency
July 18 2008

Ankara, 18 July: Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said [on]
Friday [18 July], "Turkey supports holding dialogue on Iran’s nuclear

Ali Babacan and his Iranian counterpart Manuchehr Mottaki held a
joint news conference following their tete-a-tete meeting in Ankara
on Friday.

"We hope that the dialogue process on Iran’s nuclear programme would
continue with success," Babacan said.

"We held consultations today with Mottaki on Iranian nuclear
programme," Babacan said.

"The meeting that would be held in Geneva on Saturday in regard to
Iran’s nuclear programme carries high importance. We exchanged ideas
with Mottaki on nuclear talks," Babacan said.

"Turkey supports the idea of handling Iran’s nuclear programme through
dialogue. Turkey supports the nuclear talks process and thus the
meeting to be held on Saturday in Geneva," Babacan said.

"Iran’s nuclear programme was among topics I discussed with my
colleagues from Europe and the United States in the past 10 days,"
Babacan said.

"We are very clear on this matter of nuclear energy. While we are
against the use of nuclear weapons in our region, we believe that every
sovereign country has the natural right to utilize nuclear energy
for peaceful purposes. Dialogue and consultations are necessary to
build confidence. We stress the importance of dialogue in all of
our meetings. We wish for the process to continue successfully,"
Babacan said.

"One of the topics we discussed with Ali Babacan today was Iran’s
nuclear programme," Mottaki said.

"We are in constant consultations on this matter. Turkey always
follows Iran’s nuclear activities. We thank Turkey for its constructive
approach to Iran’s nuclear activities," Mottaki said.

Asked if a proposal is made in Geneva on Saturday that the United
Nations’ sanctions against Iran may be postponed in the case Iran stops
its uranium enrichment, Mottaki said, "There is no need to hurry up."

In reference to the would-be presence of an US official at the Geneva
meeting on Saturday, Mottaki said, "This is a positive development
and I expect progress."

Turkey’s foreign minister and chief negotiator for EU talks, Ali
Babacan, said [on] Friday, "Turkey keep in contact with Armenia from
time to time."

Ali Babacan and his Iranian counterpart Manuchehr Mottaki held a
joint news conference following their tete-a-tete meeting in Ankara
on Friday.

Reminded about some news reports indicating direct talks between Turkey
and Armenia, Babacan said that "Turkey is a country that recognizes
Armenia. Within this framework, we keep in contact with Armenia from
time to time."

"I had a chance to meet the former Armenian foreign minister as well
as their new foreign minister in certain international meetings. From
time to time, Turkish diplomats meet their counterparts from Armenia,"
Babacan said.

"No doubt, this (diplomatic) traffic is important for the relations
between Turkey and Armenia. What is important is how to normalize
relations," Babacan said.

"There are problems. There are current problems and differences of
opinion on the incidents of 1915. We must handle all issues through
dialogue," Babacan said.

Reminded about news reports that security advisers of NATO member
countries convened in Ankara, Babacan said that "it is true the
security advisers of NATO member countries meet from time to time. A
related meeting took place in Ankara on Thursday. The issues discussed
were international issues pertaining to NATO."

In reference to a question on tourism between Turkey and Iran, Babacan
said that "last year, around one million Iranians visited Turkey. The
number of Turks visiting Iran was less than one million. We discussed,
with Mottaki, ways to promote tourism between our two respective


Asked about Iran’s relations with the United States, Mottaki said that
"in the past few years, many Americans from different fields wanted
to visit Iran. We support this process between the peoples of our
two countries."

"US businessmen would like to conduct business with Iran. A group of
US businessmen already operate in Iran. However, I would not be able
to give names due to the sensitivity of the issue," Mottaki said.

"We proposed direct flights between Iran and the USA. We may hold a
meeting on would-be direct flights and the opening of an US interest
office in Tehran," Mottaki said.

In regard to a question on the closure case filed against Turkey’s
ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, Mottaki stressed that
"Turkey is an important country in the region with an important role. I
believe the leaders of Turkey would be able to overcome all matters."

In reference to a question on Turkish-Iranian relations, Mottaki said
that the two countries must work to promote relations in all areas.

"The private sectors of Turkey and Iran have a role to play in
developing commercial relations. It is important to develop relations
out of the economy as well," Mottaki said.

"Let us also talk about the media. Iran and Turkey have very active
media establishments. We can help you organize meetings, symposiums
and seminars," Mottaki also said.

The year 2009 will be a year of culture between Turkey and Iran,
Iran’s foreign minister announced on Friday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said that two countries
would celebrate the 50th anniversary of signature of their cultural
agreement the following year.

"Therefore, we have defined next year as the ‘Iran-Turkey year of
culture’," Mottaki told a joint press conference with Turkish Foreign
Minister Ali Babacan in Ankara.

The Iranian foreign minister is actually paying a formal visit to
Turkey. He is expected to be received by Turkish President Abdullah
Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan later on Friday.

Mottaki said that he hoped two countries would organize activities
and programmes throughout the whole year, and told reporters that
bilateral relations between Turkey and Iran were on the right track
and were developing rapidly.

The Iranian minister said that the trade volume between the two
countries was around 10bn US dollars but said that this was not the
real potential and capacity.

Mottaki announced that the following joint economic committee meeting
between Turkey and Iran would take place in Tehran in August and
reaffirmed the desire of the two countries to further improve their
economic relations.

The foreign minister said that he also discussed developments regarding
Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon with Babacan, and welcomed the agreement
between the parties in Lebanon.

Also speaking in the press conference, Babacan said that Turkish-
Iranian relations contributed to the stability of not only the two
peoples but also the entire region.

"We attach importance to our relations with our neighbour and ally
Iran, and we base our relationship on mutual respect, cooperation
and security," Babacan told reporters.

Babacan said that two countries aimed to raise their trade volume to
20bn US dollars as soon as possible.

Turkey’s foreign minister said that there were many regional issues
and problems concerning both Iran and Turkey, and told reporters
that two countries were having consultations on problems like Iraq,
Israel-Palestine, Israel-Syria, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

Babacan said that Iran and Turkey had common goals regarding the
region including peace, stability and prosperity, and also said
that talks both countries often held focused on how regional peace,
stability and prosperity could be enhanced.