Turkish President Abdullah Gul used a news conference with his Iranian counterpart in Tehran on February 14 to call on Middle Eastern governments to listen to the demands of their people. Gul’s first official visit to Tehran coincided with a planned opposition demonstration, in support of popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, which organisers hoped would revive Iran’s reformist “Green” movement. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government, which considers the Green movement “seditionist” after protests against his 2009 re-election, has not authorised the rally. At a joint news conference, both presidents spoke of their countries’ close relations, but Gul went on to comment on the rise of popular discontent in the Middle East. “My view is that what is happening should in no way be regarded as a surprise. In this age of communication, in an age where everybody is aware of each other, the demands and desires of the people are very realistic,” Gul said, in response to a question about the state of Middle East affairs. “We see that sometimes when the leaders and heads of countries do not pay attention to the nations’ demands, the people themselves take action to achieve their demands.” Throughout the crisis in Egypt, Turkey expressed sympathy with the people. Iran has hailed events there as the people’s victory against a Western-backed dictator.