Turkey and Iran Strengthen Ties

A brigade of Turkish small businessmen dubbed the '"Anatolian Tigers' has made major inroads into the Iranian marketplace.

Malkah Fleisher, | updated: 20:09

Erdogan and Ahmadinejad
Erdogan and Ahmadinejad
Israel news photo: Wikimedia Commons

The significant warming of relations between Iran and Turkey in the last several weeks has been reflected in a hot new trading market between small businesses in the two countries.

A brigade of Turkish small businessmen dubbed the "Anatolian Tigers" has made major inroads into the Iranian marketplace since the election of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, according to Lebanese English-language daily The Daily Star. They are now providing textiles and small machinery to the Islamic Republic, and performing money transfers according to Islamic tradition.

In early June, Turkey voted against U.S.-led UN sanctions against Iran, which were meant to deter President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from continuing Iran's nuclear program. The move, while offensive to the West and therefore potentially costly to Turkey, served to improve relations between Turkey and Iran.  

Turkey, which is a secular Islamic state, has regarded Iran as a threat to its secular character since the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979. However in 2010, Iran will be Turkey's 12th largest customer for Turkish exports.

The European Union is currently Turkey's number one customer.

According to the Star, the reason for Ankara's rejection of sanctions on Tehran in June's UN vote may have been a massive gas contract between the two countries. Iran supplies almost a third of Turkey's gas.