By Nevzat Devranoglu and Ercan Gurses
ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey aims to triple trade with Iran to $30 billion as quickly as possible after the lifting of economic sanctions made banking transactions with the country easier, Turkish Customs and Trade Minister Bulent Tufenkci said in an interview.
The United States and Europe lifted sanctions on Tehran in January under the deal that curbed Iran's nuclear program. But some restrictions remain, slowing Iranian hopes to reintegrate with world markets.
"Banking and financial transactions have become easier (for Turkey) after the sanctions on Iran were softened, already boosting our business with Iran," Tufenkci told Reuters in an interview in Ankara.
Trade volume between Iran and Turkey rose to $21.9 billion in 2012, then fell below $10 billion in 2015 with the effects of the sanctions.
The Turkish and Iranian central banks have re-opened their connection on the SWIFT global transaction network, an Iranian economy official said earlier this month, in a sign of normalizing banking ties.
Tufenkci also said Turkey's targets of increasing its exports to $155.5 billion this year, from $144 billion in 2015, and of reaching 4.5 percent economic growth were achievable. It was targeting growth of above 5 percent in 2017, he said.
Tufenkci voiced optimism that relations with Russia, which has taken retaliatory economic measures against Turkey after the Turkish military shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border last year, would get back on track soon.
(Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Nick Tattersall)