News / Middle East

Turkey, Iran Relations Remain Strained

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) meets with Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, May 9, 2011.Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) meets with Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, May 9, 2011.
x
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) meets with Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, May 9, 2011.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) meets with Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, May 9, 2011.
Dorian Jones
— Turkey's foreign minister has criticized Iran for its reaction to a NATO decision to deploy Patriot missiles on the border between Turkey and Syria. The NATO decision has added to tensions between Iran and Turkey, whose relations are already strained over the Syrian crisis.
 
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday dismissed Iran's concerns about the decision by NATO to deploy batteries of the Patriot anti-missile defense system along Turkey’s border with Syria.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Davutoglu said that instead of criticizing the Patriot system, Iran should tell the Syrian government to halt its oppression against its own people, and provoking Turkey through border violations.

Tehran has strongly condemned the move, with the chief of Iran's armed forces warning the decision risks a Third World War. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad abruptly canceled a trip this week to attend a religious festival in Turkey.

The conflict in Syria has driven a wedge between the two countries, with Tehran strongly backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Ankara supporting the Syrian rebels.

But Sinan Ulgen, head of the Istanbul-based research institute Edam, said Ankara now may be reaching out to its former ally, and that the Iranian president canceling his visit is seen as a missed opportunity.

"Turkey wanted to discuss the future of Syria with Iran because despite Iran’s support of Assad regime, there is still plenty of joint interest in seeing that in a post-Assad period potentially. Syria does not fall into this abyss of instability, so from that perspective, there are a number of joint interests," said Ulgen.

No official reason was given for Ahmadinejad's last-minute cancellation.

But the decision may have more to do with opposition within Iran to any potential cooperation between Ankara and Tehran in connection with Syria, according to Murat Bilhan.

Bilhan is a former Turkish diplomat to Iran and teaches international relations at Istanbul’s Kultur University.

"First of all, he might have some domestic reasons. Because there are interesting remarks by some of the military staff, the Revolutionary Guard, threatening Turkey, just at the time, almost simultaneously when the preparations and declarations that he would visit Turkey. The point is he must have some internal disputes, internal differences probably, he found pressure on him, not to go," said Bilhan.

Still, analysts say Ahmadinejad is seen as a person with whom Ankara can do business.

Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan has in the past described the Iranian leader as a friend, although relations between the two men have cooled since the conflict in Syria.

But analyst Ulgen warned that looming changes within Iran could work against any attempts by the Turkish government for diplomacy with Tehran on Syria.
 
"Presidential elections in Iran in 2013, the next president in Iran in likelihood will be somebody more aligned (with) the spiritual leader, a more conservative candidate and therefore the relationship that Turkey has been able to manage with Ahmadinejad in terms of talking to him about a number of different issues, ranging from the regional environment to the nuclear file, is unlikely to be replicated, at least in the short term with the new Iranian president."

However, relations are expected to be further strained with Ankara, which is under increasing pressure from Washington to adopt its tightening energy sanctions against Tehran over its controversial nuclear energy program.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ben from: Islamabad
December 19, 2012 3:12 AM
Are these missiles actually being deployed to thwart any threat emanating from Syria? There is a great deal of skepticism among the defense community. Some question the validity of Turkey’s claim of defending itself from any possible attack from Syria. The Patriot system is not used against shells and rocket-propelled grenades, which eventually could be fired at Turkey from Syrian territory. Patriot missiles are used to intercept and destroy missiles as well as to shoot down aircraft. But what missiles does Syria possess that the Patriots could be used against, and why would President Assad arm these alleged missiles with deadly gas (if he even possesses such chemical weapons)? The speed at which NATO is rushing to deploy these missiles raises many eyebrows and analysts are not prepared to buy the story that these missiles would thwart attack from Syria. Read more at: http://passivevoices.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/will-the-patriots-trigger-a-world-war-iii/

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid