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Gulf security priority for Turkey, says Erdoğan advisor - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, greets the audience as he and his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul arrive at a meeting in Ankara on June 10, 2014. (Reuters/Umit Bektas)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, greets the audience as he and his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul arrive at a meeting in Ankara on June 10, 2014. (Reuters/Umit Bektas)

Beirut and Ankara, Asharq Al-Awsat—Turkish President Abdullah Gül informed his Iranian counterpart that Tehran must respect national sovereignty and refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of regional states, a senior Turkish official said. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani began a state visit to Ankara on Monday, the first time that an Iranian president has visited Turkey since 1996.

In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Erşat Hürmüzlü, a senior advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said that President Gül had highlighted the importance of Gulf security for Ankara. Gül informed his Iranian counterpart that Ankara is “committed to the security, welfare and aspirations of the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] states, without any country interference in their internal affairs.”

The two presidents tackled political and economic affairs and the talks “focused on mutual investment, particularly in the hotels and tourism sectors,” the Turkish official added.

Despite “differences” between the two countries on Syria, the two heads of state expressed their commitment to reach a peaceful solution to end the crisis and meet the aspirations of the Syrian people, Hürmüzlü said.

Erdoğan’s government has been strongly backing Syria’s rebels in their battle against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, who is staunchly backed by Tehran. Since the Syrian conflict erupted more than three years ago, diplomatic relations between Ankara and Tehran have significantly deteriorated

“Instabilities exist in our region . . . Iran and Turkey are determined to increase their cooperation to establish stability in the region,” Rouhani said in a joint press conference in Ankara.

“The fight against violence, extremism, sectarian conflicts and terrorism is Iran’s major objective,” he added.