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Turkish-Iranian trade revived amid growing cooperation in Syria

Turkey and Iran have reversed a four-year downturn in bilateral trade as collaboration in Syria increases, but the possibility of a setback remains real.

After a four-year downturn, trade between Turkey and Iran rose in 2017, as the two neighbors began collaborating in Syria. Judging by figures from the past five years, the political climate between Ankara and Tehran seems to directly affect commercial ties. Their bilateral trade volume contracted during periods when Turkey’s Middle East policies led to closer cooperation with Saudi Arabia and deeper differences with Iran, but perked up in 2017, when the two countries engaged in joint efforts in Syria.

Trade volume between Turkey and Iran reached an all-time high in 2012, totaling $21.9 billion. In 2013, it fell sharply, to $14.5 billion, under the impact of US sanctions on Iran. The decline continued in 2014, down to $13.7 billion. In a bid to prop up commercial ties, the two countries enacted a preferential trade agreement at the start of 2015, cutting tariffs on hundreds of products. A target was set of $35 billion in annual bilateral trade.

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