Turkey and Iran: Liquid Alignment and Regional Balances

Réalisation : 10 mars 2021 Mise en ligne : 10 mars 2021
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Iran and Turkey have been competing for regional power projection in the Middle East for almost centuries. Current developments, noticeably in Syria and Iraq are the new scenes of cooperation and competition schemes between these two actors. Both parties sought a solution through cooperation to find a peaceful end to the conflict in the Astana talks, while also at the same time confronting each other in Idlib province via proxies. This simultaneity of competition, cooperation, and confrontation that has been reinforced in the Syrian Crisis present a picture of a relationship that is riddled with contradictions and is in effect a paradox.

 The question that must be asked is, how can we understand this puzzle of competition, cooperation, and confrontation in Turkish–Iranian relations in the Syrian Crisis but not only, even in the Caucasus and in the larger Middle East.  Historical and contemporary research brings in discussions on the longue durée, narratives, domestic constraints, and, most importantly the international factors which can help to decipher this intellectual puzzle. Moreover, the ‘relationality’ of each country’s policies in Syria combined with historical regard on the mutual perception can help unlock the puzzle of the Turkish–Iranian relationship in Eurasia and the Middle East, and provide insight into the debate surrounding the diverging Turkish and Iranian policies in the Syrian crisis.


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