It makes sense for Turkey to build friendships in an effort to fight terrorism. But their latest plan to battle terror should raise eyebrows, since their new partner is none other than a top sponsor of terrorist groups: Iran
With a long history of funding and equipping terrorists fighting the US and Israel, Iran isn’t my first choice of a friend in that regard. But Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pushing for tighter ties with Iran, including in the fight versus terror, after years of strained relations. Makes you wonder if Turkey’s definition of terrorism is changing with their politics.
Erdogan was quoted by the Iranian Fars News Agency as saying on Wednesday, “We will widen our cooperation shoulder-to-shoulder with Iran in combating terrorist groups.” In addition, the nations are creating a joint political, economic and cultural committee with the goal of deepening relations in all those fields.
Erdogan said he wants that Iranian-Turkish committee to increase cooperation to the point it is “as if the two countries’ ministers worked and cooperated in a single cabinet.”
The main issue dividing the countries in the last few years has been the Syrian civil war. Turkey has backed the rebels, while Iran is a close ally of the Syrian regime. But Iranian President Hassan Rohani hinted that he wants the nations to see eye-to-eye on that point too.
“We share common views about crucial regional issues, including campaign against terrorism and extremism,” Fars quoted Rohani as saying. “…Iran-Turkey cooperation on other regional issues, specially those related to neighbors’ security which are among the two countries’ common concerns, should develop as well.”
Turkey is a key ally of the US in the Middle East and has been in talks about joining the European Union. They have long held quasi-relations with Israel as well. So the Turks move towards the West’s arch enemy, Iran, has to be troubling.
A key reason for Turkey’s current shift to Iran is a common enemy: Al-Qaeda in Syria. News reports and analysts, such as Al-Monitor, have noted Turkey is concerned by the crazy terrorists in Syria that are near the Turkish border.
While Iran has no qualms with backing terrorists, including Al-Qaeda allies in Afghanistan, these Syrian extremists also happen to be fighting Iran’s Syrian ally. Hence Iran and Turkey have the same enemy. Nothing like a terrorist hate triangle to bring two countries together, eh?
There is a real chance Turkey could line up with Iran, especially considering how much Erdogan said they need Iran’s natural gas resources. That could be enough to get Turkey into Iran’s camp, and they don’t typically share the West’s vision of Middle East peace or democratic utopia.
So while Iran looks to be gaining a new friend, we seem to be losing one as a matter of course. It’s time to respond accordingly.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, January 30, 2014)