Iran–Turkey relations - Wikipedia
Iran has good relations with Turkey, Iranian Defense Minister Amir Khatami the U.S. re-imposed a first round of economic sanctions on Iran. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech as he attends the parliamentary group meeting of. November 6, , pm. Erdogan: US Iran. Turkey imported 3 million tons of crude oil from Iran in the first four months of , amounting to 55 percent of crude supplies and 27 percent of.
Border problems have also been significant sources of confrontation. In reality, the two countries have engaged in armed conflicts many times sinceand there were some serious border problems.
Turkey and Iran began the twentieth century with similar underdeveloped, pre-industrial economies and agrarian societies. Under Shah Mohammed Reza's White Revolution, Iran achieved impressive economic reforms and high growth, fueled by the country's vast petroleum resources during the s and s.
Iran was considered to be an economic success in the region. During the same period, Turkey maintained an import-substitution growth strategy, which seemed less successful.
However, in the early s, Turkey initiated liberal reforms and pursued an export-oriented growth, which brought substantial economic expansion, especially in the s.
In the s, during the war with Iraq, Iran depended on imports from Turkey, paid for by oil. Since the mids, Turkey and Iran have signed a series of agreements on energy transportation from Iran to Turkey and other European markets. For example, superpower penetration into the region has changed the nature of the Turkish-Iranian rivalry.
Beginning in the early s, Britain and Russia were involved in the so-called Great Game for the control of Central Asia. This rivalry shaped the threat perception of Iranian policy makers. With imperial Britain and Russia in the region, the Ottoman Empire seemed a lesser threat to Iranians — and vice versa.
They continued to undermine each other's sovereignty and play the superpowers against each other. The most serious crisis in the relationship was brought about by the Islamic Revolution inwhich completely changed Iran's priorities and alliances. In its post-revolutionary foreign policy, Iran tried to influence Shia groups to spread the Islamic Revolution across the Middle East, engaged in a prolonged war with Iraq, and destroyed its former cordial relations with the United States and Israel.
These developments, of course, diminished the importance of the "Turkish threat" for Iran. The new regime's threat perception of Turkey was diminished. Being one of the few major challengers to the only superpower was not easy.
The United States not only challenged Iran on various issues in the region, it also supported Turkey and the "Turkish model" as a secular, modern Muslim country against the Islamic regime. Washington also maintained pressure on Iran and Iraq with the implementation of a policy of "dual containment. First, war with Iraq and isolation by the West led Iran to pursue better relations with Turkey in the s on trade and other economic issues.
During this period, Iran also supported non-state armed groups and terrorist organizations throughout the region and championed Islamism against Western governments, Israel and the secular-nationalist establishment in Middle Eastern states. At the regional level, an Iran-Syria alliance that began in the early s was balanced by Turkish-Israeli cooperation in military, security and economic matters in the s. Turkey presented itself as a model in terms of democratization and liberal economy, while Iran promoted an image that combined religious and ideological factors, as well as some economic benefits.
On the one hand, its staunch enemies, the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, were both toppled by the United States. However, these changes also led Iranian policy makers to perceive the United States as an even greater threat. This shift in Iran has redefined its relations with Turkey. In addition to the Sunni-Shia division, which was deemed particularly important by the mullahs, the foreign-policy orientation of the two countries also diverged completely.
The revolution led America to redefine its alliances in the region and maintain even closer relations with Turkey. Despite the changing character of the state and its foreign policy, as well as ideological and religious differences, when faced with political and economic isolation and a bitter war with Iraq, Iran reluctantly turned to Turkey for economic and strategic connections. The Iran-Iraq War, The first decade of Turkish-Iranian relations after the revolution was marked by the Iran-Iraq War and a willingness to cooperate in trade and economic relations.
In fact, the initiative that started the relationship with the Islamic regime came from Turkey. On February 14,only three days after the Islamic Revolution's "victory day," Turkey recognized the new regime almost instantly. The new Iranian government saluted Turkey's recognition and announced that leaving CENTO would not weaken relations between the two countries. Turkey also realized that Iran's shift to an anti-Western posture would benefit Turkey in the long run.
Turkey's first reaction to the Iranian Revolution was based on calculations about the regional rivalry between the two countries. However, Turkish policy makers have also been concerned about the weakened governmental structure in Iran, fearing instability.
Only one year after the revolution, in Septemberthe Iran-Iraq War began. For Iran, the war with Iraq to its west and the American presence in the Gulf made economic cooperation with Turkey a vital issue.
Iran needed to use Turkish ports in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean for strategic imports in its war effort. It bought goods from Turkey in return for oil and gas in the early s.
During the Iran-Iraq War, Turkey maintained a strict neutrality and improved its economic relations with both neighbors, especially Iran. However, when Turkey attempted to mediate the conflict, it did not succeed. Despite developments in trade relations, problems arose between Ankara and Tehran in the mids over PKK terrorism in Turkey and Iran's efforts to spread the Islamic Revolution in the region. As PKK attacks increased, Turkey conducted raids in Northern Iraq to pursue militants, claiming its operations were only for "hot pursuit" in line with international law.
Iran, as the self-proclaimed world leader of Islam, repeatedly protested the secularist policies and Kemalist establishment in Turkey, including the headscarf ban in Turkish universities.
During this period, regional political changes were also significant. Iran approached Syria, and an alliance between the two countries against the U. With Iran's assistance, Syria helped establish anti-Israel organizations in Lebanon, such as Hezbollah. By making use of anti-Israeli sentiments in the region and the Iraq-Syria competition, Iran effectively broke its isolation and was able to pursue its foreign policy.
On the other hand, systemic factors in this period favored Turkey. The United States also asked Turkey for military bases and transferred its intelligence stations from Iran to Turkey.
The Post-Soviet Space, Significant developments toward the end of the s changed the regional dynamics as well as the course of Iran-Turkey relations. First, inafter eight years of fierce fighting, the Iraq-Iran War ended in a status quo ante bellum, although both sides claim victory to this day.
In addition to the challenges caused by the Islamic Revolution, the constants of Turkey-Iran relations, in the form of cultural, political and ideological rivalries, rose to the surface.
Turkey and Iran found themselves in competition for their influence over Central Asia and the South Caucasus. About a quarter of Iran's population are Azeris living in the north of the country, which is historically called southern Azerbaijan.
An independent state of Azerbaijan was perceived as a serious threat to Iran's territorial integrity. Moreover, Iran realized the importance of spreading its influence in the post-Soviet space, especially in the newly independent Muslim Turkic states of Central Asia. Turkey, as a NATO member and European Union aspirant, certainly found the new developments more beneficial for itself.
Despite early fears that the end of the Cold War would diminish Turkey's strategic position in the region, Ankara quickly realized that there were new opportunities in the competition for influence. Turkey presented Central Asia with the so-called "Turkish model," emphasizing ethnic Turkic ties, secularism, integration into Western economic and political institutions, and increased trade and cultural ties.
Turkey's success in the region was mixed. It did not appear to be the main influence in the regional rivalry; however, the pessimistic prediction that Turkey would become irrelevant and loose all ground to Russia and Iran did not come true, either. The most important factor behind Turkey's success has been Western support for its increased role in Central Asia and the South Caucasus. A second major factor has been the U. The United States supported Turkey's political, economic and military influence in these two regions.
For example, Washington vehemently opposed the transport of Caspian oil and gas through Iran, instead supporting projects that would go through Turkey, and prevented countries like Georgia and Armenia from developing stronger economic and political ties with Iran.
From the early s, Iran ceased the "small-Satan" rhetoric against Russia and developed closer ties with it against Turkey and the United States. Iran's approach to the Central Asian Turkic republics included promoting Islamic ideology, supporting Islamist movements and developing some economic relations through energy trade. This shifted the focus of Turkey-Iran competition from south to north. The Gulf War of changed the dynamics in the region. After its invasion of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, one of the leading military powers in the region, controlled the world's second largest oil reserves.
Iran and Turkey approached this crisis differently. Iran, on the other hand, took a very pragmatic approach. Although some expected the Islamic Republic to support Iraq as an example of Muslim solidarity against the United States, Tehran preferred to stay neutral during a conflict that would weaken their greatest adversary in the region.
Such developments also strengthened the loose alliances between Iran and Syria and Turkey and Israel. Turkish-Israeli cooperation in military technology and intelligence, which was strongly supported by the United States, was repeatedly protested by Iran and Syria. By using the vacuum created by the United States and its allies north of the thirty-sixth parallel in Iraq, the PKK operated freely and conducted its largest attacks on Turkey.
Ankara attempted to end Iranian and Syrian support for the PKK through diplomatic efforts, but these did not prove effective. Against Turkish-Azeri cooperation on energy transportation, Iran used the PKK card to destabilize the region, particularly its oil pipelines. PKK fighters were able to freely cross the Iraqi, Iranian and Syrian borders, making it very difficult for the Turkish armed forces to pursue them. Turkish incursions into northern Iraq, and occasionally Iranian territory, were condemned by the Iranian government.
In Julythe activities of PKK guerrillas who crossed the Iranian border and attacked Turkish military posts led to a serious crisis between the two countries that could have turned into an armed conflict. Exploiting concerns that an independent Kurdistan could cause Iraq to disintegrate, Turkey initiated three-party talks with Iran and Syria to observe the situation in Iraq.
These meetings reassured the three countries of their joint interest in the territorial unity of Iraq. However, full cooperation with Iran against the PKK was never achieved. On the contrary, Iran and Turkey engaged in a proxy war in Northern Iraq during this period.
Turkey - Iran Relations
Iranian officials argued Turkey's invasions were not only a violation of international law, but the sovereign rights and territorial integrity of the Muslim Iraqi nation. When Turkey accused Iran of supplying bases, transportation, medicine, hospitals and uniforms, Iran denied the allegations and blamed them on the Turkish military, Israel and the United States.
In the early s, Turkey experienced the political murders of several journalists, opinion leaders, and other public figures, causing a huge stir in the country. These intellectuals were exclusively secularists and leftists who opposed Islamic political movements and Iran's policies in the region.
The suspects in these assassinations had allegedly been trained in Iran. Tehran repeatedly denied any connection to these assassinations and to date, connections between the Iranian government and the political assassinations of secular thinkers in Turkey have not been proven.
The political chill started thawing during the tenure of the first Islamist prime minister of Turkey, Necmettin Erbakan, who visited Tehran during August and signed various economic agreements. In DecemberTurkey and Iran signed five new agreements concerning economic relations.
Iran-Turkey relations | The Times of Israel
The desire of Erbakan's government to extend cooperation to the military and defense sectors was opposed by the Turkish military bureaucracy. Domestic Political Challenges, The Kurdish and Islamist questions continued to challenge Turkish-Iranian relations in the late s and early s.
In fact, this period witnessed the worst of all crises in Turkish-Iranian relations since the revolution in Political developments in the following months led Erbakan to resign in June, and his Welfare Party RP was shut down by the courts the following year. This period in Turkish history, involving a power struggle between the secularist military and an Islamist prime minister, is called " the February 28 coup," or "the post-modern coup" by some academics. TAF influenced Turkey's defense and foreign policies to a great extent during this period, when its most serious international challenges were relations with Iran and Syria.
The two gravest problems in Turkey — the Kurdish question and the Islamist challenge — were both related to Iran's policies.
Iran was vilified by Turkish secularist and mainstream media because it allegedly supported Islamist movements and even the Kurdish Hezbollah that was operating in Turkey. He was asked to leave Turkey in after a speech in which he supported the Islamist movements in Turkey. He also promoted the establishment of an Islamist system in Turkey and openly criticized its secularism.
In retaliation, Iran expelled the Turkish ambassador to Tehran the same year. When the secularists protested against her, and she was not allowed to be sworn in, Islamist circles in Turkey were outraged.
During this period, the two countries' media engaged in a "war of bombast. Turkish officials claimed that leaders of Hezbollah received political and military training from Iranian security and intelligence forces, worked as spies for the Iranian government and were involved in political killings in Turkey during the s.
However, regional, systemic and domestic developments in led Iran to reduce tensions with Turkey. First, the political conflict among the Iranian elite in this period focused on Iran's domestic dynamics. Fearing a general Kurdish movement in the region and a separatist one on its own soil, Iran decreased its support for the PKK significantly.
Taking all these factors into account, Iran decided to suspend relations with the PKK until regional developments, such as a possible U.
The eighth joint security meeting of the Turkey-Iran Commission on Security Cooperation, held in Octoberresulted in assurances from Iran that it would prevent the PKK from launching attacks into Turkey. Turkey also promised to cease political support for the National Liberation Movement of South Azerbaijan, an organization operating in the state of Azerbaijan.
Iran's domestic political struggle between reformist President Khatemi and conservatives also contributed to Tehran's willingness to decrease tensions with its neighbors.
This treaty would become known as the Treaty of Saadabad. The purpose of this agreement was to ensure security and peace in the Middle East. A period of coldness passed after the Iranian Revolution which caused major changes in Iran and the Middle Eastern status quo. Today Iran and Turkey closely cooperate in a wide variety of fields that range from fighting terrorismdrug traffickingand promoting stability in Iraq and Central Asia.
Turkey is the same distance from both of them. What has the international community said against Israel so far? Is this the superiority of law or the law of superiors? However, Turkey's neutral stance with regards to the disputes between Israel and Iran has secured the maintenance of friendly bilateral relations.
Turkey's relations with Israel have deteriorated after the Gaza War —09the Gaza flotilla raid and the Israel—Gaza conflict. From toTurkey had no diplomatic relations with Israel in the ambassadorial level. Since the Arab Spring[ edit ] Iran's relations with Turkey have occasionally soured over the AKP government's active involvement in regional disputes between Shia and Sunni groups since the dawn of the Arab Spring.
Turkey and Iran's differing geopolitical goals in Syria and Iraq have also led to increased tension and suspicion.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi claimed that the deaths of Turkish soldiers might have been avoided if the United States had informed Turkey that the terrorists were infiltrating into Turkey with heavy weaponry. The Turkish government shut down a probe that revealed connections between the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the highest levels of the Turkish government.