By: Abdolreza Ghofrani
After, not so friendly words exchanged between Iran and Turkey over the past two weeks, particularly during the Security Conference in Munich two weeks ago, albeit opened on the part of Turkey, the presidents of the two countries did meet on the sidelines of the summit session of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) held in Islamabad last week, talking of mutual issues of interests and development of relations. Certainly these kinds of talks, being fraught with understanding, brotherly and cordial relations, between two powerful Muslim neighbors are pretty natural. The difference procedures and approaches for doing works between countries also are natural; of course these countries can address and eventually resolving those issues with good will.
Now, however, the meeting of the two presidents indicates that both Iran and Turkey, notwithstanding the existing conditions and instigations of some circles who intend to upset the relations of these two neighbors, prefer as well as determine to keep their communication channels quite open.
There are some facts in the relations of Iran and Turkey that need to be emphatically reiterated.
As, time and again, it has proved its good will, Iran certainly never ever calls for (and will not) crisis, stability and tension in her neighbor(s).Because it is an undeniable fact that any crisis and insecurity in a certain country can definitely adversely affect its neighbors. Naturally Iran and Turkey, as the two Muslim neighboring countries are not an exception.
More important is that Turkey has always been an important country for Iran, just as the latter has constantly been a powerful country for the former and this is absolutely unavoidable. So these two important and powerful countries do have mutual need and, being influential in developments in this critical region and it is not exaggerating to say that both of them share the same destiny. It is worthy to note that Iran and Turkey do have nearly 500 Km of common border and for centuries, peace and stability has prevailed these borders. Hence it is a geographical requisite that the two countries stand together being sensitive to developments in each other countries. In fact it was the neighborhood as well as the shared values, and in particular Islam, that five decades ago encouraged the two countries to establish together with another Iran Muslim neighbor ,Pakistan, a regional arrangement now ECO. Over the next decades then nearly 10 more Muslim countries in the region joined this regional body. Naturally none of these countries, and more than anyone Iran itself, has not been after provoking religious disputes and use it for political purposes. Essentially Iran has never ever been playing politics through religion and strongly is at the conviction that this does not serve her interests, stability and peace as well as those of others’.
A brief review of Iran and Turkey diplomatic relations bluntly indicates that the two countries have always appointed the most experienced and high-ranking diplomats as envoys to their capitals and this is a solid proof of their high interests for strengthening amicable ties.
Moreover, we have not lose sight of the fact that Turkey’s best interests will be served most through the strengthening friendly relations with the countries of this area albeit in the context of regional treaties and arrangements. So membership in other arrangements and treaties out of this region cannot naturally be as beneficial as being a partner of this regional body. Inasmuch as we can see that now it is more than three decades that Turkey has applied for accession to European Union, but it has not been able to make it.Every time EU resorting to some justification to delay the accession and it is not evident how many months or years more this will continue. Moreover, with the developments in Europe and the difficult conditions that EU is grappling with, the future of this body is not quite clear.
On the other side taking office by Donald Trump in the United States and his emphatic insistence on “nationalism” and so called looking inside the America and not be engaged in any war in favor of other countries, will not naturally be in the interest of North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) ,nor will strengthening this body. This will give a murky picture of NATO.
Although it is a little early to concretely figure out the future international developments, the countries in this area cannot and should not wait for the policies and approaches those great countries out of this region will probably take.
Having all this in mind, to serve the best security and economic interests, further cooperation in political, security and economic grounds and strengthening close friendly ties is vital and unavoidable. Certainly, Iran, Turkey and other countries in the region cannot be excluded from this situation. Therefore, it is for them to work harder for the benefit of security and welfare of their peoples. They need not to allow their different approaches and more important provocations of others stop them of achieving their objectives and do not give priority to short term benefits to strategic interests.