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Erdoy-an visits Iran amid efforts to solve Syrian crisis.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoy-an is scheduled to have his first meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rohani during his two-day official visit to Tehran on Jan. 28-29 amid an acceleration of efforts to solve the Syrian crisis.

Erdoy-an will be coming together with Rohani for the first time since the Iranian president was elected last summer. During the visit, they are expected to sign a high-level strategic cooperation agreement between Turkey and Iran.

According to a senior Turkish diplomat, who spoke to Today's Zaman on the condition of anonymity, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoy-lu met with Rohani during the Iranian president's inauguration ceremony in late August of last year, and both have agreed on ways of improving ties between the two neighbors. Davutoy-lu went to Tehran to attend the inauguration of Rohani on behalf of President Abdullah GE-l.

"Erdoy-an and Rohani will be meeting in accordance with the agreement reached between the Iranian president and the Turkish minister," said the diplomat.

The diplomat added that Rohani is also expected to pay a visit to Turkey in February, right after Erdoy-an's visit to Iran. The diplomat underlined that bilateral ties and regional issues, particularly the Syrian crisis, will be on the agenda of the meeting between Erdoy-an and Rohani. Though Turkey and Iran back different sides in Syria, they have mutual concerns about the reawakening of sectarianism in the region and have agreed to work together against these sectarian threats.

When Davutoy-lu was in Tehran in late November of last year, he announced that Rohani would visit Turkey in December 2013 to attend the E[currency]eb-i Arus ceremony, which commemorates the death of Sufi mystic and Islamic scholar Mevlana Jelaluddin Muhammad Rumi. However, it was announced later that rather than the new president, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif would visit Turkey, but this visit was also canceled due to Zarif's tight schedule.

Iran issued an invitation for Erdoy-an to go to Iran before Rohani's yet-to-be-rescheduled visit to Turkey. "Our President Rohani invites Erdoy-an to Tehran first," Zarif said at a joint press conference with Davutoy-lu on Dec. 4 of last year.

According to Iranian-born Middle East analyst Arif Keskin, if Rohani had visited Turkey before Erdoy-an visited Iran, this would have led to resentment among conservatives in Iran. Keskin added that the Iranian president preferred to invite Erdoy-an first to ease the pressure on himself. "Rohani wants to give the message that Iran is not making concessions to any country," Keskin said to Today's Zaman.

In terms of diplomatic protocol Erdoy-an's visit to Tehran is appropriate, said the same diplomat.

"There is no problem in Erdoy-an's visiting Tehran when considering the protocol rules, because Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, who is actually Erdoy-an's counterpart, paid a visit to Turkey in October 2012," said the diplomat.

Prior to Rahimi's visit, Erdoy-an had paid a visit to Iran in March 2012. During that visit, the scheduled meeting between Erdoy-an and former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was postponed when Iran said the president had been suffering from gastrorrhagia.

Erdoy-an arrived in Tehran before dawn, accompanied by a large delegation of ministers and officials for discussions on Syria, Iran's nuclear program and closer economic ties, but Ahmadinejad made Erdoy-an wait more than 24 hours before the meeting.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Jan 27, 2014
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