Iran in Turkey’s National Security Document

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Siamak Kakaei

Active ImageRelations between Iran and Turkey have been constantly developing over the past few years. Both countries are bent on raising total trade volume to 20 billion dollars per year. Transfer of Iran’s gas to Europe, investment grounds and geographical neighborhood have worked to further cement those ties. Politicians in Tehran and Ankara are determined to expand relations and Turkey has also endeavored to play a role in Iran’s nuclear case.

Ankara has been trying to mediate between Iran and 5+1, the climax of which was the role played by Turkey and Brazil, as regional and transregional players, in the formulation of Tehran Declaration.

Although the Declaration was snubbed by 5+1, it practically introduced Turkey as a new variable to the nuclear case and the most recent negotiations between Iran and 5+1 took place in Istanbul.

The 2010 version of Turkey’s national security document has noted that the country supports a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear issue. Turkey is willing to be an influential actor and play a key role in settling regional disputes.

Although such a role has not been assigned to Turkey yet, mediation between Iran and the west will be in line with the new foreign policy approach taken by Erdogan and Ahmet Davutoğlu.

As a neighbor, Turkey has been taking a diplomatic approach to Iran’s nuclear case. The main goal of Ankara is to prove its political and regional capacities. Turkish politicians are even mulling permanent membership in the Security Council as the first Muslim country to be assigned such a seat. They believe that Arab states are also positive toward this idea.

The vast expanse of Turkey’s foreign policy, however, is not totally in Iran’s favor. The 2010 version of Turkey’s national security document has undergone some changes and Iran has been crossed out as a possible missile threat against Turkey’s national security. Shortly after the change, the issue of NATO’s missile shield came up and although Turkish officials insisted that no country’s name should be mentioned as a possible threat, including Iran, they have given the green light to deployment of the missile shield on their soil. It is not clear why Turkey, which claims to be favoring a peaceful solution to the nuclear standoff, has accepted deployment of NATO’s missile shield on its soil.

This proves the multifaceted nature of Turkey’s foreign policy. Ankara is a strategic ally of both Europe and the United States and a member of NATO. It still holds the same viewpoint to regional and international issues as NATO.

On the whole, Turkey’s foreign policy has moved to mend fences with neighboring countries. Ankara is redefining its foreign policy with respect to the Middle East region and the European Union. Turkey is trying to make Europe admit that it is not a weak country which has applied for accession to EU. Some analysts maintain that Turkey’s look to the east policy is in defiance of EU. Many, however, argue that Ankara will leave the main axes of its foreign policy intact.

During next year’s election hustings, Justice and Development Party can claim that it has been pursuing an active regional diplomacy which has made Turkey a focus of international attention.

Source: Khabaronline News Website
Translated By: Iran Review

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