Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country is "ready" to set up its own trade mechanism with Iran, allowing companies from the two neighboring countries to continue with their "legitimate" business amid the hostile US sanctions.
Erdogan made the statement Thursday in a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the three-party talks on Syria in the Russian resort city of Sochi, Al Jazeera reported.
"Turkey is ready to join the SPV (special purpose vehicle) and create a similar bilateral mechanism for trade with Iran," he said, referring to INSTEX (Instrument In Support of Trade Exchanges), a new vehicle set up by the European Union to process payments outside the regular banking institutions.
"Multilateral cooperation with Iran on different issues has been positive and Turkey is ready to expand this cooperation to other countries in the region," the Turkish leader said.
Energy, Industry and Transportation
No specific date has been announced for the Turkish version of the SPV.
Rouhani said Tehran hopes "obstacles" would be removed so that the two countries will be able to strengthen bilateral cooperation in key sectors.
Private sector collaboration has been "very good", Rouhani said, adding that "building banking cooperation is crucial for developing such ties".
Tehran is willing and able to develop relations with Ankara in the energy, industry and transportation spheres, he was quoted as saying.
Earlier in the month, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said Turkey is the only country in Europe that has not stopped buying Iranian oil since the US re-sanctioned the Iranian economy in the summer of last year.
US President Donald Trump in May abandoned the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and imposed new economic sanctions against Iran targeting key sectors such as oil, banking and insurance.
The Trump administration has warned other countries to comply with the hostile unilateral sanctions or face the consequences.
Erdogan's announcement on Thursday risks hurting Turkey's not very friendly relations with Trump's America, which has been pressing other countries to cut economic ties with Iran, news outlets reported.