Iran, Iraq to see visits by top Turkish leaders early in the new year
Turkish leaders will visit officials in Middle Eastern neighbors early in the New Year to discuss burgeoning bilateral cooperation. President Abdullah Gul is expected to visit Iran in January 2011, probably before the next round of nuclear talks between Tehran and six world powers, set to be held in Istanbul in late January, while Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will pay a visit to neighboring Iraq to meet with the country's new government, which was recently formed nine months after an inconclusive election left politics in limbo. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told the Mehr news agency on Monday that Gul's Tehran visit will take place at the invitation of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but didn't specify an exact date for the visit. Both Ahmadinejad and Salehi were in Istanbul last week to participate in a regional economic summit. Shortly after Davutoglu's visit, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will also visit Iraq for the second prime ministerial level meeting of the high-level strategic cooperation council with the new Iraqi government. The visits to Iraq were planned in a telephone conversation with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Maliki, whom Erdogan called to congratulate on forming a new government, Davutoglu told reporters yesterday at a joint press conference with visiting Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary-General (GCC) Abdurrahman bin Hamad Al-Attiyah.