Measuring Wrong Threat in Turkey’s Media and Elite Circles

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Assessing Anti-Iran Atmosphere in Turkey

Elyas Vahedi
Expert on Turkey and Caucasus Affairs

During early years of the crisis in Syria, due to vast and profound relations between Iran and Turkey, the existing differences between the two countries on the Syrian issue did not cause any disruption in their efforts to promote quality and quantity of relations between the two countries. As a result, setting a target to boost bilateral trade volume to USD 30 million or USD 40 million a year and serious follow-up on this goal as well as signing of a preferential trade agreement between the two countries were considered as major instances that proved the Syrian issue has not left a negative impact on the two countries’ relations. However, since the government of Turkey started to protest at the Islamic Republic of Iran’s policy toward Yemen and got closer to Saudi Arabia, unfriendly diplomatic positions between the two countries have increased on a daily basis and the media war behind these diplomatic grievances has taken the general atmosphere in the two countries in a direction that after any incident in the region, Turkish media blame it on Iran and rarely a day goes by in which Turkish journalists do not write a critical piece on Iran.

Although the negative role played by anti-Turkey pieces published by Iran’s media cannot be ignored in this regard, some Turkish media, especially those supporting the ruling Justice and Development Party, have gone to such great lengths in hostility with Iran that after downing of Russian bomber plane by Turkish jets and following severe reactions shown by Russian President Vladimir Putin to that incident, the Islamic Republic of Iran was more accused in this case than Russia. Also, during the period that tension has been rising between Iraq and Turkey over the deployment of Turkish forces to Iraq’s Bashiqa military base near the northern city of Mosul, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was introduced by Turkish media as spokesman of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Turkish media even wrote that Iran had deceived Putin and al-Abadi to move in line with Tehran’s plans. Assessments of Iran’s regional goals and policies in Turkish media have recently become so superficial that some of them have even accused Iran of cooperating with Israel and the government of the United States of America behind the scenes. This is while if the Islamic Republic of Iran actually sought such cooperation, its nuclear issue would have certainly not taken more than 10 years to be resolved and Iran would not have suffered extensive economic sanctions.

The baseless nature of accusations leveled about cooperation between Iran and Israel need not more explanation. Some media sources in Turkey depict Iran’s cooperation with Russia in such a way that as if their cooperation is totally against Turkey. At the same time, Turkish analysts are well aware of the existing differences between the Islamic Republic of Iran’s strategic interests and those of the Russian Federation. Iran has been accused of becoming part of a Christian coalition while everybody knows that the Islamic beliefs are so integrated into and institutionalized in the Iranian society and the political system of the Islamic Republic of Iran that even after many decades of cooperation with the West, Iran would not turn into an ally of a Christian club of countries.

Some Turkish media and elites in this country have also fallen in a trap of sentimentalism and anger, and are pessimistic enough about Iran to depict the existing atmosphere between the two countries so bleak that as if the two countries are on the verge of a real war. Although under this bleak political atmosphere, economic activists of the two countries are taking extensive measures to achieve the outlook and goals set for the two countries’ relations, media both in Iran and Turkey only emphasize on shortcomings.

Therefore, under the current conditions of turmoil that prevails in the region as a result of which innocent Muslims in the region are being massacred on a daily basis, instead of hatemongering, the two countries’ media must act as the watchful eye of politicians. In doing so, they must go beyond their political affiliations and fulfill their moral and professional duty for dissemination of correct information in order to help prepare regional people to interact for the establishment of peace and stability in the restive Middle East region, where material and human assets of Muslims are being wasted.

Key WordsTurkey, Media, Elite Circles, Anti-Iran Atmosphere, Justice and Development Party, Negative Role, Iran’s Media, Accusations, Political Atmosphere, Middle East, Vahedi

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*Photo Credit: Eu Observer

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