First Published: 2009-10-27

Turkish PM in Iran to boost bilateral ties

Erdogan to discuss 'regional and international issues', commercial ties with Iranian hosts.


Middle East Online

Improved links with Iran

TEHRAN - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Tehran on Monday evening and was received at the airport by the Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The aim of the visit is to boost bilateral relations, the news agency reported, adding that Iranian first vice president Mohammad Reza Rahimi will officially welcome Erdogan on Tuesday.

The Turkish premier is also expected to hold talks with Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani and Mottaki.

"Regional and international issues will be discussed during this visit," Erdogan's office said.

Erdogan heads a high-ranking commercial and economic delegation comprising ministers, members of parliament and business leaders, IRNA said.

Iranian-Turkish trade stands at around 12 billion dollars a year and the two nations are seeking to expand it to 20 billion dollars in the next two years, according to the IRNA report.

Turkey, a NATO member, has in recent years improved links with Iran, its eastern neighbour, and has sought to help resolve the nuclear dispute between its Western allies and Tehran.

Erdogan accused Western powers of treating Iran unfairly over its nuclear programme, in an interview published on Monday in which he referred to the Iranian president as a "friend".

Speaking to The Guardian newspaper, Recep Tayyip Erdogan downplayed concerns that Iran wants to build nuclear weapons as "gossip", and implied that the accusers were guilty of hypocrisy.


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