(photo credit: Associated Press)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has completed a deal with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan under the terms of which Iran will transfer $25 million to Turkey's ruling AKP party, The Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday evening. According to the report, the money is to go towards Erdogan's bid to be re-elected to a third term in next year's general election.
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The Turkish government denied that a deal with the Islamic Republic has been struck, saying they have not received any money from Iran.
Erdogan announced his intention to run for an additional term last week
after a referendum on
he supported passed.
The referendum gives the government more power while weakening the
judiciary, which has traditionally upheld Turkey's secular constitution.
The government argues that the referendum increases Turkey's chances of
being accepted into the European Union. Critics claim the referendum
will allow Erdogan and the AKP to turn Turkey into an Islamic state.
The report quoted unnamed western diplomats as being alarmed by the
possibility of such a deal.
"The agreement between the AKP and Iran is a very worrying development,"
said a diplomat. "It will increase the suspicions of many Turks that
the government is deepening its ties with Islamic states.