Tehran Summit

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan officially visited Teran on July 19, after a 4-year hiatus. The seventh Turkey-Iran high level co-operation council meeting was held during the visit.

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan officially visited Teran on July 19, after a 4-year hiatus. The seventh Turkey-Iran high level co-operation council meeting was held during the visit. Following the Astana talks format, a meeting on Syria was also held on the same day with the participation of Russian President Putin and Iranian President Raisi. While President Erdogan had the opportunity to talk about the critical topics in Turkey-Iran and Turkey-Russian relations with his counterparts, negotiations were also held on the future of Syria and the anti-terrorism operation that Turkey is planning to conduct in Northern Syria.

Erdogan’s trip to Tehran made clear Turkey’s stance on a number of topics. Showing how determined Turkey is to clear the terrorist organization YPG/PYD, which operates in Syria, from the region, Erdogan underline the steps that need to be taken to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis. He highlighted the necessity to engage in the constitutional committee work.

Erdogan’s trip to Tehran includes that Russian and Iranian leaders did not directly mention the YPG/PYD, although they engaged in a similar discourse to Erdogan on the importance of fighting terrorism. Both countries direct or indirect relationship with this terrorist organization may have prevented the leaders from voicing its name openly. Therefore, Erdogan’s call that “We want to see actions, not words” remain unanswered.

Although Russia and Iran do not support the planned Turkish operations, they do not openly say that they would prevent it and Turkey may conduct the operation against the terrorist organization despite their objections.

The Tehran summit showed that there was no change in the positions of the parties on the war in Syria. However, the leaders’ face to face meeting after the pandemic bracket were a vital sign that the political solution process in Syria is set to accelerate. On the other hand, the summit succeeded in as far as Turkey, Russia and Iran kept the diplomacy table afloat in the face of challenges such as the covid 19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, which tested the international system and proved that international organizations failed.

Specific to the relations of Turkey and Iran, some points of cooperation and conflict came to the fore. While the points of cooperation were emphasized by the president of Republic of Iran and the members of the government, the points of disagreement were expressed by supreme Leaders Ali Khamenenei. The different approaches of the two figures to relations with Turkey is due to the dual structure of the political system in Iran.

The Political responsibility, he emphasizes cooperation and takes a constructive stance. However, despite all these emphases on cooperation, it is understood from the statements of the religious leader that a certain level of tension will remain on the Ankara-Tehran line.

President Raisi reiterated the target of $30 billion of bilateral trade volume and expressed hope for extending the 25 years natural gas agreement. He also mentioned the goal of establishing joint industrial facilities. The two sides signed a long-term comprehensive cooperation plan which aims to happens deepen economic relations between the two countries.

In the meeting with President Erdogan, supreme Leader Khamerei expressed Iran’s dissatisfaction with the new geopolitical reality that emerged after Azerbaijan liberated Karabakh from Armenia border.

Nevertheless, since the president conducts intergovernmental relations and has political responsibility, he emphasizes cooperation, it is understood from the statements of the religious leader that a certain level of tension will remain on the Ankara-Tehran line.

President Raisi reiterated the target of $30 billion of bilateral trade volume and expressed hope for extending the 25 years natural gas agreement. He is also mentioned the goal of establishing joint industrial facilities. The two sides signed a long-term comprehensive cooperation plan which aims to depends on economic relations between negotiations for the extension of the 25 years natural gas agreement.

 In the meeting with President Erdogan, supreme leader Khamenei expressed Iran’s dissatisfaction with the new geographical reality that emerged after Azerbaijan liberated Karabakh from Armenia by saying that they would not allow the closure of the Iran-Armenia border.

Khamenei also stated his discomfort with the normalization of Turkey-Israel relations. Iran does not want the two countries to resolve their differences as, according to Tehran’s point of view, in such a case, Turkey and Israel would act together and harm Iran. Iranian intelligence has recently targeted Israeli tourists and business people on Turkish soil, both in an attempt to respond to the assassinations that took place inside Iran and to target the turkey-Israel normalization process. These attempts were prevented by timely intervention of Turkish intelligence, but they draw Turkey’s reaction and cause tension in bilateral relations.

Khamenei claimed that a military operation by Turkey in Syria would benefit the terrorists at the expense of Turkey and neighbouring countries. This stance is not unique to Syria.

Tehran was instrumental in taking important steps for global issues such as the Russia-Ukraine war. President Putin conveyed his thanks to President Erdogan for the role Ankara played in reading the grain deal. It would be no exaggeration to say that the foundations of the grain corridor agreement signed in Istanbul on July 22 were laid during the earlier meeting of Erdogan and Putin in Tehran.  

The writer is a student at USECS – Peshawar – Dpt of English Language 

October 22, 2022

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