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16 April 2014, Wednesday
 
 
Today's Zaman
 
 
 
 

‘Ankara is Iran's rival whether it likes it or not’

8 March 2012, Thursday /MESUT ÇEVİKALP
Soner Çağaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has claimed that Turkey's increasing prestige in Arab countries due to its current foreign policy, NATO membership and EU accession bid disturbs Iran.

Çağaptay, in comments to Today's Zaman, said: “Although Turkey wants to establish good relations with Iran, Iran considers Turkey, whose influence and power in the region is increasing, as a rival. While Turkey is boosting its influence in the region, Iran's is declining.”

Turkey and Iran are two countries in the region that have not been paralyzed by the events of the Arab Spring. “I believe that Iran, the oldest imperial regime of the region, will try to preserve its position in the region at all costs,” Çağaptay added.

While Turkey turned its back on the East and tilted toward the West, Iran strengthened its hand in the region, Çağaptay noted. But when Turkey refocused its foreign policy on the Middle East 10 years ago and began deepening its relations with other countries in the region, Ankara became Iran's rival.

“If the Arab Spring had never occurred, there would have been secret competition,” Çağaptay posited.

He pointed to the two countries' conflicting stances on the regime crisis in Syria, which he said has taken the Turkish-Iranian rivalry to an unprecedented level. “While Turkey supports the Syrian opposition, Iran has decided to support Syria's Assad regime. In the end, either the Syrian opposition or the Assad regime will win. In other words, either Turkey or Iran will win.”

Çağaptay said Iran's future relations with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) are a way to determine whether Iran considers Turkey a threat. "If the terrorist organization conducts large-scale attacks this spring, and there are indications that Iran supports the PKK, we would then assume Iran considers Turkey a threat. Unfortunately, Iran would use the PKK as leverage against Turkey.”

In the midst of the political tumults of the Arab Spring, Turkey's relations with Syria, Iran and Russia have soured, Çağaptay said. Turkey's decision to host NATO's missile shield project has shifted the balance of the region, he argued. “The Arab Spring and developments in Iran showed that Muslim countries pay great importance to Turkey because of its NATO membership and the EU accession process. Ankara has analyzed this fact properly.”

“If Turkey were not a NATO member, it would not differ from any other rich Arab country in their eyes. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries need Turkey as a NATO member to minimize and balance the influence of Iran in the region. Because, in addition to its prestige, NATO makes it possible for its members to access US defense and weapons technology,” he said.

 
 
COMMENTS
We throughout History were/are leaders in this part of the world. As of right now, we have lead over Iran. Even when Iran declares can strike us "as needed", but ask Iran why can't!
shield
Everbody, esfandyar is some iranian kurd living in an alternate reality.
GeneralSherman
Esfandyar, Turkiye has more than 2 times more the nominal GDP that Iran has and more than twice the nominal GDP per capita that Iran has without even relying on "meterial resources" like Iran does. I'm not even going to go into the differences in the strengths of the militaries of the two countrie...
GeneralSherman
@Esfandyar Haha you are kidding me right with that comment ? Turkey irrelevant country ? Pls tell me how a country that is economiccally and militarily 100 times stronger then you is irrelevant ? Turkey has no grassroot support ? perhaps you didnt witness the tentousands of egyptians welcoming Pri...
Tugay
As much as I want Turkey to be Iran's regional rival you cant even compare the two. Iran exerts extensive influence over Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq, Yemeni Houthis, and Syria. Turkey is for all intensive purposes a "no body" when it come to regional politics in the Middle East. There is a genocide happenin...
Hamza; Aleppo, Syria
It is well-known that the Washington Institute for Near East Policy is a propaganda effort meant to shape policies and establish narratives that benefit Israel -- that failed Zionist experiment. Their propagandastic war-mongering seeks to exploit the Turkish nation and the Iranian nation as well as...
Mehmet
They are not competitors. They are brothers. We are all a big happy family and we all love each other and treat each other with love and respect. We would never harm each other. That has never happened in history before and it will not happen in the future either.
Happy people
Turkey is an irrelevent rival.Turkey has no grass root support even in Turkey let alone Hijaz and Nile valley .. Turkey has no meterial resources to compete with Iran.. All what Turkey has is dieing Israel and bankrupt America and that no asset to be counted on......no any more...Advice : i...
Esfandyar
Competitions are good between Countries, but it should be based on well being of humanity, peace and happiness.
muradali_shaikh
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