Abdollah Gül and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Turkish President Abdollah Gül, speaking today during an official visit to Tehran, said all the countries of the region should heed the demands of their people.

Iranian news agencies report that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Abdollah Gül had a lengthy meeting today in Tehran, while various delegations from both countries also met.

At a subsequent press conference, the leaders commented on Iranian-Turkish relations and Iran’s nuclear negotiations. Ahamdienjad made no mention of recent Arab uprisings in the region, but Gül revealed that the two leaders had discussed those developments behind closed doors. “In the region, especially the Middle East and the world of Islam we are witnessing a series of basic and major changes,” said Gül, “and we discussed these issues together.”

He added that recent events were far from unexpected: “In the modern world, with expanding modes of communications, nothing can be kept from the people, and the people are well aware of all aspects of different issues.”

During his visit to Tehran in 2003, Gül expressed similar sentiments saying: “All of us need to reach an evaluation of the realities within our own countries. We need to take heed of our people’s demands and make sure political and economic reforms are in line with the demands of our people.”

The Turkish president said today: “When leaders of countries do not pay attention to the demands of their people, people take action in order to achieve their own demands.”

Ahmadinejad, however, concentrated on trade issues, citing a plan to increase bilateral trade to 30 billion dollars, not counting additional investment in the energy sector. He also thanked Turkey for its support during Iran’s nuclear negotiations with the G5+1.

President Gül arrived in Tehran last night and will also visit Esfahan and Tabriz during his four-day visit.