Ahmadinejad arrives in Turkey for first visit

Iran Materials 14 August 2008 17:04 (UTC +04:00)

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday arrived in Turkey for a controversial first visit that would include talks on cooperation in the energy sector and security issues, dpa reported.

The Iranian leader is expected to meet his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul later Thursday.

The two-day visit is Ahmadinejad's first to a NATO country. In June he travelled to Rome, but that was in order to attend a summit of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Reports in Ankara said Ahmadinejad's trip to the neighbouring country had been downgraded to that of a "working visit" as the Iranian leader had not wanted to include a visit to the mausoleum of Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

The international community accuses Iran of developing a nuclear weapons programme. Tehran, facing sanctions because of the issue, denies this and cites its right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.