ANKARA: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi met with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday to discuss the escalating conflict in Gaza and explore energy cooperation between the two neighboring countries. Raisi’s visit had been postponed twice due to scheduling conflicts and security concerns in Iran’s southeastern city of Kerman.
In addition to discussions on bilateral ties, the leaders planned to exchange views on current regional and global issues, specifically addressing the Israeli attacks on Gaza and the occupied Palestinian territories, according to a statement from the Turkish presidency.
The meeting also involved the co-chairing of a Turkish-Iranian business council, with the possibility of signing agreements.
Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar revealed that energy cooperation, particularly in the natural gas field, was a topic of discussion with Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji during their talks in Ankara on Tuesday.
Turkey, advocating a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has strongly criticized Israel for its actions in Gaza, calling for an immediate ceasefire and supporting legal measures against Israel for alleged genocide.
Despite this stance, Turkey maintains commercial ties with Israel, drawing criticism both domestically and from Iran.
While NATO member Turkey does not classify the Palestinian militant group Hamas as a terrorist organization, in contrast to some Western allies and certain Arab nations, it aligns with Iran in the Axis of Resistance—a coalition that includes Hamas and Shiite Muslim groups confronting Israel and its Western allies. Iran openly supports Hamas.
The conflict has seen broader implications, with US and British strikes targeting Iran-backed Houthi targets in Yemen in response to Red Sea shipping attacks. Turkish President Erdogan criticized these strikes as a disproportionate use of force.
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan recently engaged with his Iranian and Pakistani counterparts after cross-border incidents, calling for calm.
Turkey and Iran traditionally have complex relations, particularly regarding the Syrian civil war, where Ankara supports rebels seeking to oust President Bashar Assad, while Tehran backs the Syrian government.
Turkey has taken steps to improve ties with Damascus in recent times.