Turkey and Iran sign a trade agreement with Qatar


Turkish and Iranian ministers have signed an agreement with Qatar to increase the flow of goods to the Gulf state.

Qatar faces trade restrictions from its Middle Eastern neighbors, including Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government has said it wants to punish Qatar for its ties to Iran and suspects links to terrorist groups.

Turkey, however, has increased cooperation with Iran on some issues, especially those related to the conflict in Syria. For example, both Turkey and Iran oppose the formation of an independent Kurdish state.

AFP reports that the agreement signed on Sunday aims to increase commercial relations and the movement of goods between Turkey, Iran and Qatar.

Turkey increases its ties with Iran

Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Russian and Iranian leaders would meet more and more to discuss Syria.

Some experts say that Turkey's growing ties with Iran show that there is disagreement with the Saudis. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has strengthened Saudi Arabia's efforts to influence its neighbors in the Middle East.

Huseyin Bagci is a professor of international relations at the Technical University of the Middle East in Ankara. He said: "Prince Salman has more aspiration (s) in the region even to cooperate with Israel and Egypt." He said that the Saudi diplomatic efforts have acted to reduce the influence of Turkey.

Some experts say that Saudi Arabia's major foreign relations efforts have been especially difficult for President Erdogan.

For more than 15 years, he has tried to establish links with the Saudis in an effort to expand his country's influence in the Middle East.

But the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 weakened those efforts. Morsi had been a close ally of Erdogan.

Many in Turkey blame the Saudi government for supporting the movement of the Egyptian military to seize power. Morsi is currently in prison serving a life sentence for supporting violence against protesters opposed to his presidency.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia now compete in some cases for influence in Middle East affairs.

But, Turkey also has strong economic ties with Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis are big investors in Turkey and the main foreign buyer of homes in the country. Saudi economic ties also reduce Turkey's dependence on Europe for foreign investment.

I'm Mario Ritter.

Dorian Jones reported this story to VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English with AFP materials. Caty Weaver was the editor.


Words in this story

commercial -adj. related to commercial activities, activities performed for money

aspiration -n. something that a person wants to do a lot

region -n. a separate area of ​​a country or the world

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