A Meeting to Boost Relations among Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Bahram Amir-Ahmadian
Tehran University Professor & Researcher at the Institute for Trade Studies and Research

The fourth trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan was held in northern Iranian city of Ramsar on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Holding of the fourth round of this meeting at such a tumultuous time with high tensions in the region can be taken as a good omen and a sign of the existence of diplomacy and lasting multilateralism. In other words, holding of the fourth trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan shows that there is an understanding among these three countries, while indicating that these three important countries in the region have reached that degree of understanding and maturity to sit together and continue their consultations on various issues in order to engage in cooperation with one another within this framework.

With this backdrop in mind, the trilateral meeting among the foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan can be discussed from various economic, security, cultural and other angles. However, perhaps the most important aspect and dimension of such meetings should be seen in the field of economic relations, because in parallel to the development of economic relations and enhancement of trade exchanges, political and security relations will be also strengthened and guaranteed. We must know that the geopolitical position of Iran, Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan is such that in order to boost their economic development, these three countries have no choice but to cooperate with each other. Iran is a gateway to the East and Central Asia for the Republic of Azerbaijan and Turkey, while Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan play the same role for Iran's access to Europe and Eurasia. Iran is also situated between Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan and can facilitate cooperation and contacts between Baku and Ankara.

In other words, one may claim that increased cooperation in the field of transit and development of east-west and north-south transit corridors can have many benefits for all countries involved in these projects. It must be also noted that if Iran, Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan define a clear order and regular arrangements for their various economic sectors within framework of such trilateral meetings, since all these countries are member states of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), this aspect of their cooperation can be further expanded within the framework of the ECO and the OIC. If done, this will in turn give new life to efforts made to promote regional cooperation and multilateralism, and energize these organizations’ activities.

Now, since economic sanctions that had been imposed on Iran over its nuclear case have been removed according to Tehran’s nuclear deal with the world powers, which is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and since Iran is now in post-JCPOA era, it can engage in economic cooperation with other countries with more ease and higher capacity. Therefore, the Islamic Republic has now wider maneuvering room to engage in economic cooperation and trade exchanges, and this issue has paved the way for more extensive cooperation among Tehran, Baku and Ankara. On the other hand, there exist profound cultural, historical, religious and language ties among the Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan and this issue has caused relations and cooperation among their nations and governments to be quite close over the past decades. This issue, in addition to the rising threat of terrorism, extremism and violence, which have been spreading at high speed and are now manifest in the form of such terrorist groups as Daesh and al-Nusra Front, can further encourage these three countries to engage in close security collaboration.

At present, Iran and Turkey are engaged in a minimum degree of security cooperation and even that cooperation has seen ups and downs. Following the election of the new Iranian government, which has “foresight and hope” as its main motto, cooperation between Tehran and Baku has been on the rise and hopes have increased about closer cooperation between the two sides in security fields. This situation will help three countries to join hands in fighting terrorism and resolving security issues while curbing drug trafficking and exchanging experiences in these fields. On the whole, increase in regional cooperation, promotion of multilateralism, and development of economic and cultural relations can be considered as the most important and primary outcomes of the trilateral meeting among Iran, Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan, which can pave the way for reduction of differences and further expansion of cooperation and relations among the three countries. In short, such a meeting can be considered as the beginning of a new chapter in regional cooperation and regional diplomacy.

Key WordsIran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Trilateral Meeting, Foreign Ministers, Iranian city of Ramsar, High Tensions, Multilateralism, Geopolitical Position, Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Security Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Regional Diplomacy, Amir-Ahmadian

Source: Etemad Newspaper
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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Photo Credit: Azad News Agency (ANA)