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Rouhani Visits Turkey to Boost Ties

Iran’s President becomes the first Iranian leader to visit Turkey in more than 18 years.
By Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 6/10/2014, 5:45 AM

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani
Reuters

Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, on Monday became the first Iranian leader to visit Turkey in more than 18 years.

According to Bloomberg news, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after talks with Rouhani that Ankara may buy more Iranian natural gas if a price dispute can be settled.

Erdogan said he and Rouhani discussed gas pricing during a meeting in Ankara, and asked energy ministers from the two countries to keep working on it.

“We have decided to improve relations in gas, oil and electricity, even though there are some snags,” Rouhani was quoted by Bloomberg as having said at a joint press conference in the Turkish capital, describing the talks as a “turning point” in relations.

Rouhani is seeking to reconnect Iran with the world economy after a decade of isolation. Trade with neighboring Turkey plunged last year as a result of U.S.-led sanctions. The countries have also sparred over Syria, where they’re supporting different sides in the civil war.

While Iran has backed Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad and has provided him with military support, Erdogan has openly supported the rebels and called on Assad to step down.

Rouhani was accompanied on his trip to Turkey by more than 100 businessmen, seven ministers and central bank Governor Valiollah Seif, according to his Twitter account.

The countries agreed to link their railway networks and improve cooperation in banking, Rouhani told an earlier news conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul.

Despite the tensions between the countries, they appeared to be getting closer back in January, when Erdogan visited Iran, meeting both Rouhani as well as Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.