The Future of Relations between Ankara and Tehran after the Tehran Summit

Since December 28 Iran has faced plenty of operations. Unexpected attacks on strategic Iranian positions by ISIS, the Qatar-Saudi Arabia crisis, a referendum on September 25th, and, finally, elections in Iraq can be considered as part of this process.

Indeed, these events have concerned Iran so much that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Chief of the General staff Mohammad Bakiri made official visits to Turkey. Also, Mohammed Ibrahim Taherian Fard, the Iranian Ambassador to Ankara expressed gratitude on behalf of his country in response to the friendly position of Turkey after the events of December 28. A similar statement was made by the leaders of Iran, when the Turkish leadership announced its disapproval for the United States imposed sanctions against Iran, repeatedly indicating that the friendship between the countries would continue.

After Ankara gave a negative response to Washington, Trump’s administration activated its “dollar weapon” and targeted the political course of Turkey through economic attacks. Iran delivered its message through Bahram Qasimi, the spokesperson of the Ministry of  Foreign Affairs of Iran, that Turkey knew what it was getting into. Criticising the US policy against Turkey, Iran stated its readiness to support Turkey expressing hope that both countries could be of good friends. Qasimi stated that: “Turkey and the Turkish people can resist pressure controlled from the outside. Despotism and threats can not break the will of the people.”

Contrasting words and deeds

The above statements were tested in the context of the true intentions and Iran’s friendship vision. Given the situation on the ground, it takes much longer to create a stable alliance between Turkey and Iran. Unfortunately, “Iran’s geopolitical ambitions” continue to be an obstacle in building a strong background between two countries. “The wall of uncertainty” is growing …

Tehran’s excessive insistence on the Syrian-Idlib issue, the methods, and tools that the country tried to use in this context could not be interpreted as a goodwill gesture.  At this point, the “Outstanding Performance” put together with Russia which was reflected in the TV screens is quite remarkable.

The insensitive attitude towards Turkey’s demands even though a twelve-point declaration has been signed (at this point it is necessary to consider that part of the negotiation process were broadcasted by Iran without informing the Turkish and Russian delegations), could be interpreted as follows:

1- Ruining the reputation of Turkey;

2- To embarrass Turkey in the face of opponents or make Ankara a target;

3- To complicate the Turkish economy and, consequently, the political situation with another wave of migration;

4- To alienate relations between Turkey and Russia;

5- To follow the “win-win policy without Turkey” in Syria as was the case in Iraq;

6- In this context, if necessary, develop “cooperation” with the US and Russia to share influence in Syria. Thus, turning the US pressure on itself to an advantage, as shown in the situations of cooperation in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Statement of former Iranian President Ahmadinejad that assistance of Iran to the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq is still in memory, at least in Internet search engines);

7- To terminate the Treaty of Qasr-e Shirin (Treaty of Zuhab).

Questions to be answered

Iran needs to answer the following questions:

1-    Bearing in mind, that Syrian territories are still under the occupation of ISIS, and the territorial integrity of Syria is questionable, which bears threat for Syria, Turkey and Iran, and the continuous support for these entities by the United States, why does Iran insistently talk about Idlib?

2-    Does Iran have the vision to access the Mediterranean Sea through its “western policy” and put an end to Turkey’s presence in this region?

3-    If this is not the case, what does the intentions to deduce Turkey’s regional influence in Syria means?

4-    If Iran’s real goal is the “Great Israel” Project, then why did it agree to withdraw from southern Syria?

5-    Having retreated from the South, isn’t Iran following the requirements of the US and Israel through Russia?

6-    Is the Iranian Syrian-Middle Eastern policy independent from Russia at the moment?

7-    Why is Iran declining the offer of a ceasefire by Turkey in order to negotiate with the adversaries to gain time and disarm Idlib, and rather preferring to pressure Turkey, together with Russia?

8-    Will Iran continue to maintain its position following the last will of Peter?

9-     In that case, how will the real friendship be built between Iran and Turkey?

The list of these questions can be longer. The answers to these questions will help us to clear up the approach and “attitude” of Iran towards Turkey at the Tehran Summit. More importantly, they will also help to understand “what kind of Syria,” “whose Syria” and explain the confusion occurred in the context of Idlib case.