Iranian President to visit Turkey; gas deal expected
TURKEY: Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was due in Turkey
Thursday where he was expected to sign a new gas pipeline deal in a
demonstration of the improved ties between the Islamic Republic and the
The two-day visit is Ahmadinejad's first to Turkey since he came to
power in 2005. He was scheduled to meet with his counterpart Abdullah
Gul in Istanbul.
Relations have improved between Iran and Turkey's Islamic rooted
leadership, which took power in 2002.
Earlier Turkish governments accused Iran for decades of trying to
export its radical Islamic regime to secular Turkey, which is aspiring
to join the European Union.
While the West has threatened a fourth round of sanctions over
Tehran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment, because of fears Iran could
develop a nuclear weapon, Turkey has said it is not opposed to the
nuclear work if it is only for civil use.
Iran is Turkey's third biggest natural gas supplier. The two
countries were expected to seal an agreement to build a new gas pipeline
to prevent the frequent cuts in gas from Iran during wintertime.
Washington opposes any new energy deal between Iran and Turkey on
grounds that it could send a wrong message to Tehran amid the nuclear
The United States has also opposed plans for Turkey's investment in
Iran's South Pars gas fields, and the Islamic Republic selling its gas
in European markets via a U.S.-backed pipeline through Turkey.
Istanbul, Thursday, AP