Iran and Turkey are expected to take their improving relations a step further at an international Islamic summit in Istanbul starting today. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was warmly welcomed by his Turkish counterpart Abdulah Gul.Turkey has recently defended Iran over its nuclear programme, which the West fears Tehran is using to develop atomic weapons. Ankara’s apparent efforts to strengthen links with Iran have alarmed the US and the EU, which Turkey wants to join. And Brussels had been equally troubled by a decision to invite Sudan’s president to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference meeting. The EU had urged the Turkish government to withdraw the invitation to war crimes suspect Omar Hassan al-Bashir. But the Sudanese leader has pulled out of his own accord. Bashir is wanted over alleged war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region.