'Listen to the people', says Turkish leader in Iran visit

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'Listen to the people', says Turkish leader in Iran visit

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Turkish President Abdullah Gul is in Iran on a four-day visit, hoping to build ties between the two neighbours.

The reason for the trip is business – President Ahmadinejad told his host that Tehran hoped to treble its trade with Turkey, from around 7.5 billion euros-worth last year to over twenty billion.

But after the regime changes in Tunisia and Egypt, the volatile situation in many Middle-Eastern countries was also on both leaders’ minds.

President Gul said governments could not hide anything from their people in today’s world, adding that leaders needed to listen.

“The demands of the people are very realistic. Without any exception we all have to examine our own domestic affairs and we have to take whatever steps are necessary,” he said.

The Iranian leader thanked Ankara for Turkish support in the face of Western concern over Iran’s controversial nuclear programme.

Last year, Brazil and Turkey brokered their own fuel-swap deal with Iran whereby Tehran would give up some of its enriched uranium – but the deal was rejected by the West.

Turkey has tried to act as mediator between the two sides. It recently said it would not apply US-imposed economic sanctions against Iran, but would only respect those decided by the UN Security Council.