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Turkey, Iran focus on common ground as presidents meet

Tuesday, April 07, 2015 - 01:54

Tayyip Erdogan and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani avoid directly addressing differences over Yemen during a trip by the Turkish president to Tehran. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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A warm welcome for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan as he is greeted by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran. The visit comes as the two leaders find themselves on opposite sides of the divide in Yemen. Erdogan, a devout Sunni Muslim, has backed a Saudi-led military campaign against Houthi insurgents in Yemen. Tehran supports the Shi'ite Houthis. The visit has been in the cards for some time. But some Iranian lawmakers called for it to be scrapped last week after Erdogan publicly backed Saudi Arabia's operation against Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen -- and criticized Tehran for trying to "dominate the region." At a news conference they play down their differences. (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) IRAN'S PRESIDENT, HASSAN ROUHANI, SAYING: "Our two countries, with the support of other nations, should be able to work together so that, God willing, we can help establish conditions that bring about peace, stability, security in Yemen and a broad government that allows for inclusive dialogue among the people of Yemen." Erdogan echoes that view. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRESIDENT, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING: "We should talk and negotiate an end this bloodshed, these killings together. We should bring the fighting sides together and see how much we can facilitate these things, how we can mediate? We need to talk about these details and I hope that we will achieve an outcome." But analysts say that the friction between the neighbors will be kept in check by economic dependency. Turkey needs Iranian gas and sanctions-hit Tehran desperately needs export markets.

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Turkey, Iran focus on common ground as presidents meet

Tuesday, April 07, 2015 - 01:54