Erdogan receives Portuguese counterpart
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday received his Portuguese counterpart Pedro Passos Coelho in an official ceremony at the central building of Prime Ministry in Ankara. After the national anthems of the two countries were played, Coelho saluted the escort of honor in Turkish. Afterwards, Erdogan and Coelho held a joint press conference. Responding to a question over Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's no showing at a ceremony on Monday to commemorate Mevlana Jalal al-Din Rumi, Erdogan said the Patriot air-defense missile deployment issue had nothing to do with the Iranian president's nonattendance. "We have extended an invitation. And several reasons have been cited for his absence but the Patriots are not one them," Erdogan told reporters. Erdogan also dismissed remarks by Iran's top general who said that the deployment of the Patriot batteries "will ignite the Third World War." For his part, Coelho said that Portugal has been working on economic reforms. "You have implemented such reforms two years ago. We would like to learn and benefit from your experiences," Coelho noted. As part of his visit, Coelho was also received by President Abdullah Gul in Ankara.