Turkey and Iran have maintained cooperation in regional affairs in recent years, including most notably joint efforts for a settlement in Syria but also solidarity against US and Israeli policies in the Middle East. Earlier this month, Turkey’s interior minister even raised the prospect of a joint operation against Kurdish militants.
The political solidarity has been widely expected to strengthen bilateral trade, with a number of steps taken to that effect. In 2015, a preferential trade agreement between the two neighbors lowered tariffs on 125 industrial and 142 agricultural products. Two years later, a swap agreement took effect to allow the use of national currencies in bilateral trade.
When introducing the preferential trade agreement, the two countries had set a target to boost the volume of bilateral trade to $35 billion. Four years on, the result is a disappointment in full measure. In 2018, bilateral trade was worth $9.3 billion, the lowest level over the past nine years.
(Picture credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)