Iran, Turkey, and the interests game

Abdallah Al-Moghazy
4 Min Read
Abdallah Al-Moghazy

It seems that Iran and Turkey agreed to share the legacy of the old, sick Arab man, although they disagreed on the master whose instructions they should follow in the region to help them to achieve their interests and plans. Iran is a Shiite Muslim country, and the majority of Turkey’s population is Sunni Muslim. The two nations have historically strong relations, but they outwardly disagreed over the Syrian civil war. Turkey tried to show itself as the only power capable of defeating the Syrian ruling regime and stop Iranian Shiite intervention.

Under this premise, Turkey manipulated most Gulf countries and also Europe, claiming that it is capable of hosting refugees and preventing them as much as possible from entering Europe. To keep the situation unchangeable as long as possible, Turkey allegedly purchased oil from the Islamic State, according to some intelligence reports. On the other hand, Iran intervened in Iraqi and Syrian internal issues and controls the situation there, and finally, also in Yemen.

Iran-Turkey relations are important to specialists, researchers, and decision-makers in the Middle East. Both countries geographically surround the Arab world from the east and north. They are historically intertwined in a unique way, rarely found in other regions. In addition, Iran and Turkey are strong neighbouring countries, each of which has ambitious regional visions and often seeks a global role. Thus, there is some sort of competition between both countries in many issues. This competition has ignited a frantic struggle in the Middle East at the expense of all Arab countries.

For all these reasons, Iranian-Turkish political and strategic relations are different from any bilateral relations between two non-Arab countries. Considering this unique relationship, we can predict whether the future of this tie will lead to conflict or consensus.

To discover the relationship between Iran and Turkey, we should have a look at the important issues between the two nations. For example, the main mutual cooperation between Iran and Turkey is in their economic relations. Despite the economic strength of Turkey, it relies on importing its needs of oil and gas from Russia and Iran. Therefore, Turkey’s political range is often subject to its economic dependence on Russia or Iran.

Ankara is aware that cutting ties with Tehran means losing its main energy supplier that will affect the trade balance between the two countries, estimated at billions of dollars, and Turkey cannot afford that.

We should not forget that the turning point in Turkish policies towards the Syrian conflict came as a result of the downing of the Russian plane. This incident changed the map of the Syrian conflict in favour of the ruling regime, as Turkey was forced to accept Russian conditions. Thus, the Arab countries finally realised that the Turkish regime had manipulated them.

The common interests game between Iran and Turkey still has ups and downs based on the changing political map and the biggest loser in all cases are the Arabs.

To be continued.

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Former assistant to both Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and former prime minister Ibrahim Mehleb. He previously served as the spokesperson for President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s electoral campaign. He also held a position on the Youth Advisory Council for the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, and was a spokesperson for the Al-Wafd Party.
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