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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs