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Iran's Raisi makes first visit to Turkey seeking to close gap on Gaza, Zangezur

Apart from economic ties, the Gaza war is expected to be in focus, on which the two sides may share public rhetoric but diverge deeply when it comes to policy and interests.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan shakes hands with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during a meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Sept. 17, 2022.

TEHRAN — Iran's president, Ebrahim Raisi, is visiting neighboring ally Turkey on Wednesday on his first official trip to the country. The visit, which  has been delayed twice, is expected to see the signing of economic agreements as well as discussions on the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.  

Raisi will sit down with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for a one-on-one meeting, according to Iran's state-run IRNA news agency, before an eighth Iran-Turkey Supreme Council of Cooperation convenes, of which the last round was held during Erdogan's visit to Tehran in July 2022. 

The two leaders will also attend a joint meeting of economic actors representing the two countries. A number of memorandums of understanding have been scheduled to be inked by the two sides, covering such fields as infrastructure, security, culture and tourism.   

In its attempt to forge new alliances to ease the burden of crippling Western sanctions, Tehran has in recent years found Ankara as one of its top five major economic partners. While some reports are suggesting a decline in the volume of trade, the Iranian government spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi told reporters on Tuesday that the figure has risen to $9.5 billion, marking a 40% increase since Raisi took office in 2021.  

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