Turkish leaders ought to be careful not to allow their highly pragmatic foreign policy to damage the trust other countries have in Ankara, as they need the cooperation of regional states in dealing with huge challenges facing them.
In a recent article, the Tasnim News Agency warns the US is working hard to drive a wedge between Turkey, Russia and Iran, and Ankara would do well not to fall in this trap.
Following is an excerpt of the article:
Turkey, Iran and Russia are continuing to cooperate in the region, particularly in Syria and Iraq. They have managed to reduce the violence in Syria and prevent the Kurdistan Regional Government from disintegrating Iraq.
But there are problems that could endanger the future of this cooperation. One of them is that Turkey is insisting on its enmity towards the Syrian government and refuses to take any step towards reconciliation with Damascus.
The other problem is that Turkey has shown willingness to cooperate with other parties too, probably to maximize its benefits. A clear example is the meetings held behind closed doors between Turkish officials and their American counterparts on Syria. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has announced the talks are focused on Manbij, where the US forces are present.
But this shows Turkey has decided to cooperate with the US on the eastern side of the Euphrates and collaborate with Iran and Russia on the western side of the river. This has put a question mark over Turkey’s claim that it supports Syria’s territorial integrity and has worried Iran and Syria.
Iran seems to be eager to expand its relations with Turkey in all aspects, including in the region, but Turkey’s behaviour has created obstacles and the Turkish government would do well to take confidence-building measures. Turkish leaders are aware of this, but unfortunately have failed to take any steps.
US Dissatisfied with Tehran-Ankara Partnership
Of course, the US is really concerned that Turkey could draw closer to Tehran and engage in stronger regional cooperation with Washington’s foe, so they are employing carrot and stick policy to prevent the deepening of Tehran-Ankara partnership. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton are among the figures who have been trying to drive a wedge between Tehran and Ankara.
The US and Europe are by no means interested in creation of a regional alliance between Turkey and Iran, and are making every effort to prevent that. French President Emmanuel Macron has openly declared this fact.
Turkey is losing trust of Russia too. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in the ground-breaking ceremony of the Trans Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) held in Turkey earlier this month that “TANAP is a project against Putin.” The Turkish government has done nothing to compensate for the insult and this can fuel a feeling of distrust towards Turkey in Russia.
Through engaging in cooperation with the US in Syria, Turkey is breaking the trust of Iran and Russia, and this can have grave consequences for the country. Ankara should be aware that it could be the next target of the US warmongers who have wreaked havoc in Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli announced last week in a press conference that the country has engaged in talks with Iran about conducting a joint operation against PKK in the two countries’ border areas. He said Iran supports Turkey’s operation against PKK but is not currently interested in a joint operation.
Turkish leaders ought to ask themselves why this joint operation has been cancelled, while PKK is a common enemy of Turkey and Iran. Turkey could receive Iran’s help in solving PKK conflict if it had taken confidence-building measures regarding regional issues, particularly Syria.
It is hoped that Turkey could regain the trust of regional countries, particularly Iran. Tehran and Ankara, as two regional heavyweights, are capable of settling regional conflicts and prevent the imperialist US from interfering in the region’s affairs.