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Turkish PM Gul due in Tehran Sunday

Tehran, Jan 9, IRNA -- Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul will arrive here Sunday on a one-day visit, his first to the Islamic Republic since the leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came into power in November, the country's embassy here said Thursday.

In a press release, a copy of which was sent to IRNA, it said that Gul will also participate in a news conference to be held at the Turkish embassy in Tehran later in the day.

The visit is part of Gul's "active diplomacy for peace" and tour of the Middle East to discuss regional concerns about a possible US attack on Iraq and their efforts to avert a war.

On Saturday, the Turkish prime minister, fresh from his recent visits to Jordan, Egypt and Syria in which he expressed Ankara's opposition to a US attack, will head for Saudi Arabia before travelling to Iran.

"The consequences of war will be disastrous," Gul said in Amman as he wound up the three-country tour.

"If peaceful means do not yield a result and an undesired war emerges, its subsequent negative repercussions on the entire region concerns everyone," he was quoted as saying in Damascus on Saturday.

The Turkish daily Milliyet said that Gul, during visit to Damascus, had managed to achieve Syrian support for a peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis. Both countries have common borders with Iraq, which are populated by Kurdish minorities.

Turkey -- a key American ally in the region and the only Muslim member of NATO -- is under growing US pressure to lend support to its possible military attack on Iraq.

At home, Ankara is faced with widespread opposition of its public opinion and the country's parliament to another American war in the region. Turkey helped the US during the 1991 Persian Gulf war against Iraq.

Both Iran and Turkey have long borders with Iraq.

... Payvand News - 1/9/03 ... --

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