16 April 2014, Wednesday
Today's Zaman

Turkey unnerved by Iran, Algeria deal on Syria

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9 September 2012, Sunday /SİNEM CENGİZ
Turkey is very much concerned with what Turkish officials have described as a “tacit agreement” between Algeria and Iran with regard to the 18-month-long Syrian crisis.

The increasing alignment in the policies of the North African country and Iran have gained momentum since the beginning of the Arab Spring, particularly in the Syrian crisis, which has dragged on for far longer than any other Arab Spring uprising.

A senior Turkish official, who spoke to Sunday’s Zaman on condition of anonymity, stated that since the beginning of the Arab revolution in the North African region, Algeria has been very concerned with the possible spillover effect of the uprising on its own country, as three of Algeria’s neighbors, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, have experienced uprisings that have resulted in the fall of the dictatorships in those countries. The same official added that Turkey is closely watching the increasing cooperation between Algeria and Iran, who is a close ally of the embattled Syrian President Bashar al- Assad regime, adding there is a “tacit agreement” between Algeria and Iran over Syria. Turkey and Iran have conflicting policies regarding Syria, a situation that has strained relations over the past several months. Turkey is one of the staunchest supporters of the opposition forces that are trying to topple Assad.

In contrast with Turkey, Iran has stood by its ally Syria despite the growing international pressure on the Syrian president.

Algeria is the new actor on the scene and is keen to play a partner role with Iran in its policy towards the Syrian crisis, agree experts. Iran and Algeria have adamantly opposed any foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs, underlining the importance of resolving the problems through dialogue.

“Algeria and Iran considers the Arab uprising as a threat to their own countries. Syria is an important laboratory for the countries which are concerned about the Arab Spring wave,” Arif Keskin, a prominent Iran analyst, told Sunday’s Zaman. Iran and Algeria took a similar stance at the meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in mid-August in Mecca, where the suspension of Syria from the OIC was approved by an absolute majority with objections only from Iran and Algeria.

Another example of the Algerian stance in regards to Syria came in February when it abstained from voting on a United Nations draft resolution on the situation in Syria, which was adopted by a recorded vote of 137 in favor to 12 against, including Iran’s vote siding with the Assad regime. Iranian president has also underlined several times that Iran and Algeria have the capacity to create a new world order, adding Iran and Algeria could be an exemplar of brotherly ties in the world via the expansion and diversification of relations in all spheres.

“Algeria is a door for Iran to pursue its Shia policies in the North Africa region. Since 10 years, Algeria is the only country in the North Africa region which eases the expansion of the Shia policies of Iran,” says Cahit Tuz, Middle East adviser in Parliament.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, in a meeting with Speaker of Algeria’s National Assembly Abdul Qadir bin Saleh on the sidelines of the 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran in August, said that the African state has been a good partner for Iran since the victory of the Islamic Revolution.

“Algeria is Iran’s good partner and an anti-Israeli resistance front since the victory of the Islamic Revolution,” said Khamanei.

“In order to get rid of the West’s isolation policy, Iran is in search of new partners in Africa. In this respect, Algeria is an important partner for Iran,” Bayram Sinkaya, an expert on Iranian politics and a lecturer in the department of international relations at Yıldırım Beyazıt University in Ankara, said in remarks to Sunday’s Zaman.

The other point which brings Algeria and Iran to stand in the same line is their anti-imperialist stance. Moreover, Algerian leaders have publicly backed Iran’s ongoing nuclear program on numerous occasions and voiced Algeria’s support for Iran’s right to “peaceful nuclear technology”.

However, Keskin believes that the close Algerian-Iranian relationship and solidarity will not be long lasting. “I think the closeness between the two counties is just due to the conjuncture,” said Keskin.

Algeria’s relations with Turkey were strained this January when Turkey raised the issue of France’s killing of thousands of Algerians during the North African nation’s struggle for independence between 1954 and 1962.

“Iran is trying to exploit lackluster performance on the bilateral ties between Turkey and Algeria,” said Tuz.

The Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia has asked Turkish officials to refrain from bringing up Algeria’s history during the period of French colonization, delivering a strong message that Algeria is disturbed by the mention of its history in a quarrel between Turkey and France.

But reaction to the Algerian prime minister’s words was immediate from both opposition leaders and members of the Algerian coalition government, as both blocs suggested that Ouyahia was “serving France” by way of slashing support from Turkey in a matter sensitive to Algerians. “The current government in Algeria is discomforted with Turkey due to its stance towards Algeria in the post colonial era. There is a perception that Turkey didn’t support Algeria in its hard days,” Arif Keskin, a prominent Iran analyst, said in remarks to Sunday’s Zaman.

Ouyahia noted that Turkey had been a member of NATO during the war in Algeria and as such had provided material support to France. “We say to our (Turkish) friends: Stop making capital out of Algeria’s colonization,” said Ouyahia.

Like among a majority of Sunni citizens inside Syria, in Algeria the Sunni Muslims are not takfiri Wahhabi or Salafist adherents. Algeria knews its period of Salafist terror, but stopped it. Algerians see the Wahhabi-Israeli-American NATO-plan and Yinon Plan for the Middle East. The Yinon Plan also ...
Abu Piet
Colonial agents are still ruling Algeria, Pakistan,etc. Once the people get united they will boot them out like Mubarak.
Iran is scraping the barrel,isolated and alone in the World Iran is trying so hard to make new frends, and they very few left who wants to be frends with Iran.
Unbelievable how sectarian are the muslims! So the writer thinks that Algeria should join the war that is waged by the Turks and its medieval arab regimes against Iran just because they are Shia? We love Turkey and its people, but we are not going to let Erdogan dictate his policy to us, and will no...
Ismail Aljazaeri
Comments here are very sectarian to the core..No wonder the West is able to control Muslim nations..What did Erdogan do when Israel murdered 9 Turkish citizens?
Abdelkader, you say "Thanks to Syria, PKK's leader Ocalan was expelled from Damascus and captured shortly after". That statement is false. It is thanks to Syria that the PKK grew into an effective terrorist organisation in the first place. Hafez al-Asad nurtured the PKK in the Bekaa valley, gave the...
AbdulKader you have no knowledge. Ocalan was expelled because Turkey threatened to attack the terrorist bases which where funded by Syria. They could have sent him to Turkey but did not. This is the way of the Alwaite kaffir. Any Sunni supporting the Alawite rule over Muslims is stupid. They lesten ...
Comments that contains, facts ,logic, understanding and common sense, brings joy to the reader. .
Algeria s a very heroic nation and a very important bastion of the Islamic nation. Iran which has supported the Arab Spring could not be a friend of Algeria. Turkey and Saudi Arabia should immediately repair their relationship with Algeria and should never allow Iran to fish in troubled waters. Alge...
Turkeys foreign policy is leading it to confrontation with all its neighbours .This government will lead Turkey to isolation and conflict and possibly ruin by pursuing very confrontational policies.
Sad to see the Algerian dictator siding with wrong side, in the fear of Arab spring coming to its doors. However, this step alone will warrant the brave people of Algeria to go on the streets.
For decades, Turkey was confronted to serious terrorist attacks from the PKK, and is still waging a war on this movement. Whatever opinion you have on Assad or the Syrian crisis, you cannot deny that in Syria too, there are terrorist attacks from a part of the opposition (killing policemen, soldiers...
There is no deal between Iran and Algeria. These two countries are just attached to the principles of national sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs, as many other countries of the developing world. In fact, until very recently Turkey was one of the best partners of Syria and Erdoga...
George.The train has left.It is in Egypt right now.By the time it arrives in Turkey from there, Turkey will occupy the back seat.
If Turkey contuninues Erdogan's Politics, soon it is going to miss the Train. even if he acts, it will be little and very late.
There’s nothing wrong with using diplomacy to resolve differences, and there is everything wrong with interfering in another country’s affairs by sending terrorists there. You cannot deny the truth in that statement. Erdogan’s statement that he is meddling in Syria because he wants to bring democ...
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