January 6, 2014 | Quoted by Ariel Ben Solomon, The Jerusalem Post
Turkey, Iran Grow Closer as Erdogan Plans Visit to Islamic Republic
Turkey and Iran seem to be boosting relations as the two countries continue to exchange high-level visits.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning to visit Iran at the end of this month, his foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, announced on Saturday at a press conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, reported the Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman.
In addition, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is planning a visit to Turkey in February, said Davutoglu, adding that Zarif would return for an Iran-Azerbaijan-Turkey meeting.
“Turkey’s economic and political relationship with Iran continues to expand, even as the Turkish political elite’s ties to the Iranian underworld have mired the AKP government in scandal,” Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Post.
“Iranian gold traders have been at the center of this scandal, underscoring the dangers of working with Iran’s shadow economy,” he said.
Schanzer went on to point out that instead of scaling back relations, “it appears that the AKP is doubling down on Iran,” adding that “it is unclear why Turkey would stake out such a high-profile position at a time when Iran sanctions remain in place.”