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    Iran, Syria and beyond

    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD12 January 2012 - Okunma Sayısı: 1304

    Time is ticking away for everyone regarding Iran. While the United States tries to corner Iran, it runs out the clock as it did in the past. It hopes to possess nuclear weapons as early as possible, thus dickering with the U.S. and Western actors in a different position. Within this framework, it is possible to see the narrowing gap while looking at the bigger picture.

    This situation chivies not only Iran and the U.S. but also everybody to have to position rapidly. Undoubtedly, Turkey is in the lead among the countries in the most difficult position, since it is an ally of the U.S. in the region and a member of NATO. The government is very well aware of what it means to say no to the U.S. when the time is ripe because of its experience with the U.S. in the Iraq War of 2003. It is still remembering how it struggled to climb over the crisis that appeared in the wake of the Iraq War. For this reason, as the government’s room for maneuver narrows, its concerns keep increasing.

    While the size of the relationship with the U.S. is at this point, Turkey’s economic, political, ideological and geographical relations with Iran continue at a higher level. Iran, with a sound attitude, exposes Turkey with a serious dilemma by showing an interest before the media with soft means.

    We know Davutoğlu’s efforts to convince Iran about Turkey’s “neutral” position are condemned to stay just as ineffectual actions in his recent Tehran visit. The way to understand this passes through listening carefully to what Iranian officials said instead of their “official discourse” before the cameras and statements of religious leadership and the people around them.

    On the other hand, Iran is also worried about Turkey. For example, Turkey’s policy toward Syria is enough to make Iran unhappy. Turkey’s decisive role in political developments in Syria continues as the U.S. and Britain supported activity. In the end, Iran is about to lose its greatest ally in the region.

    In the meantime Iran is not idle while continuing to respond to Turkey’s Syrian policies over Iraq. Iran’s intervention in Iraqi domestic policy harasses Turkey. As a matter of fact, Prime Minister Erdoğan has stated clearly that he is annoyed with the Iraqi prime minister’s sectarian attitude, and the potential of its switching into an internal conflict is high. While Erdoğan makes this statement, he is aware of Iran’s role about what is going on in Iraq.

    Another development that accelerates and adds a new dimension to those developments is Turkey’s allowing the establishment of a radar system as a NATO member. Even a mediocre military expert could say that the target of the radar is Iran.

    The increasing tension over the Gulf between the U.S. and Iran and backstage efforts of Britain make out a clearer picture.

    Davutoğlu must understand that its efforts are not enough either to change Turkey’s destiny arising from its geography or preventing nuclear crisis. Iran is aware of this and is trying to gain as much time as possible and trail a large number of actors. In terms of Iran, the best candidate to be drifted to dilemma seems to be Turkey. Prime Minister Erdoğan, contrary to Davutoğlu, would not want to experience a similar testing again after the Iranian experience at the United Nations.

     

    This commentary was published in Hürriyet Daily News on 12.01.2012

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