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Istanbul, Dec 23, (KATAKAMI / IRNA) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Teyyip Erdogan met here late Wednesday night and discussed most important bilateral, regional and international issues.
According to IRNA Night Service, the information website of the IRI Presidential Office reported early Thursday morning that the late Wednesday night meeting of the two top politicians took more than an hour.
The two sides emphasized in the meeting over the need for the improvement of comprehensive bilateral relation, cooperation, and harmony, arguing that such moves would be to the benefit of both nations, and boost peace and security in the region and the world.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Summit in Istanbul.
The 11th Heads of State and Government Summit of ECO began its activities on Wednesday, December 23rd in Istanbul.
Prior to the summit, economic experts attended the senior officials’ meeting slated on December 20 and 21, and foreign ministers of ECO member countries held the 19th Council of Ministers Meeting on December 22.
The Iranian president is also scheduled to hold meetings with Turkish officials and representations from other ECO member countries on the sidelines of the summit.
The newly-appointed caretaker of Iran’s Foreign Ministry Ali-Akbar Salehi is accompanying President Ahmadinejad in this trip.
Moreover, representatives from ECO Secretariat, ECO subsidiary organs and a number of international organizations are expected to attend the meetings.
The 10th ECO summit was held in Tehran in March 2009.
Following the summit, Turkish President Abdullah Gul will host a trilateral meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari aimed at bringing the two countries closer on December 24.
The ECO is an intergovernmental regional organization established in 1985 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey providing a platform to promote economic, technical and cultural cooperation among member states.
The organization was expanded in 1992 to include seven new members, namely Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
ECO members aim to establish a single market for goods and services, much like the European Union.
ECO’s secretariat and cultural department are located in Tehran, its economic bureau is in Turkey and its scientific bureau is situated in Pakistan. (*)
Dec 22, 2010 (KATAKAMI / PRESIDENT.IR) — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left Tehran on Wednesday afternoon for Istanbul, Turkey, to attend the Summit of Economic Cooperation Organization.
Delivering a keynote speech at the 11th ECO summit and meeting with a group of his counterparts are on the agenda of the President’s two-day visit to Turkey.
First Vice-President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi and Supreme Leader’s International Affairs Advisor Ali-Akbar Velayati were at the airport to see off the president. (*)
Photostream : Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
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‘Does Israel think it can enter Lebanon with most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children, use cluster bombs to kill kids in Gaza, and expect us to remain silent?’ asks Turkish prime minister on visit to Beirut.
November 25, 2010 (KATAKAMI / YNET) — Turkey will not remain silent if Israel attacks Lebanon or Gaza, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Beirut on Thursday, as ties between the longtime allies remained at an all-time low.
“Does (Israel) think it can enter Lebanon with the most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children, and destroy schools and hospitals, and then expect us to remain silent?” Erdogan said at a conference organised by the Union of Arab Banks.
“Does it think it can use the most modern weapons, phosphorus munitions and cluster bombs to kill children in Gaza and then expect us to remain silent? “We will not be silent and we will support justice by all means available to us.”
Turkey was once Israel’s closest military and diplomatic ally in the Middle East but ties began to deteriorate when Ankara criticised Israel’s December 2008 to January 2009 offensive against Gaza.
Relations then nosedived on May 31, 2010 when Israeli naval commandos stormed a Turkish-registered protest ship, the Mavi Mara, part of a flotilla attempting to break the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian territory. Nine Turkish activists were killed in the operation.
Erdogan has said his country will not begin to restore relations with Israel until it apologizes for its “savage attack” on the vessel. Thursday was the final day of the Turkish premier’s two-day visit to Lebanon.
Hundreds of Lebanese of Armenian descent have clashed with army troops during a protest over a visit to Beirut by the Turkish prime minister.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is on a two day trip during which he met with officials and visited the north and south of the country.
He was inaugurating a hospital in the southern port city of Sidon Thursday as hundreds of protesters gathered in the capital’s Martyrs’ Square. When demonstrators tore up a large poster of Erdogan and pelted troops with rocks, security responded by beating up a number of them.
There were no reports of major injuries.
Lebanon has 150,000 Armenians, or nearly 4 percent of its population, which harbors deep animosity toward Turks over the 1915 killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians. (*)
AFP and AP contributed to the story