Analysis‎ > ‎04.07.2012‎ > ‎

TURKEY AND IRAN: RIVALRY vs. COOPERATION



By Angelina Harutyunyan

Abstract:  This  article looks  into  cooperation and  differences between   Iran and  Turkey  on the  global  and  regional levels.  Turkey  being  secular Muslim country  has tried to maintain balanced  policy both towards  the Middle Eastern states and  the  West. Iran,  on the  other  hand  tried  to conduct unidirectional policy seeking to spread its influence in the region through  competition with Turkey. Depending on the  ruling  regimes in Turkey, relations with Iran were fluctuating  developing   from  cordial   into  antagonistic  approaches.   Turkish multi-vector foreign  policy did not  benefit  Iran  as  the  latter  in many  cases perceived  Turkish  cooperation with  the  West  as  direct  threat towards   Iran. On  the  other  hand,  Turkey  used  to  perceive  Iranian  military  capacities as  a threat towards  Turkey and substantially has been opposing  Iran going nuclear though  having neutral approach towards  Iranian  nuclear program.

Being   natural  rivalries    for   domination   in   the   region  Turkey   and   Iran nevertheless  had   common  grounds  for  cooperation  in  political,   counter- terrorism  and  economic   fields.   Shared   security   threads  such   as  Kurdish issue,  organized crime  and drug  trafficking,  shared interests such  as energy cooperation boosted  mutual cooperation and activities.  However, differences both  on  the  regional and  international scenes predict  not  so  much  smooth relations between  Turkey  and  Iran.  Though  being  Muslims,  they  experience deep  rivalry in a series of issues in the South  Caucasus, in cooperation with the  West, especially  with the  United States  and  NATO-member countries,  as well as in ideological  values  and theories, which in a set make  Turkey and Iran natural competitors for domination.






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