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TURKEY-IRAN RELATIONS FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF JULY 15

Turkey-Iran Relations From the Perspective of July 15
In line with their geopolitical locations, historical backgrounds and strategic aims, Iran and Turkey have been two historically important countries in the region as two neighbour countries with different systems of government. These two medium-sized countries with a legacy of imperialism have become targets for countries outside of the region due their capability to influence regional developments. In these days where we experience change of borders and regimes in the Middle East, especially with regards to the issues of regional stability and security affairs, Iran and Turkey have been forced into cooperation despite the regional rivalry between the two countries. In this work we will focus on the balance of interest between the two countries with regards to this extraordinary era that the country is experiencing.
The coup attempt that happened on the night of July was an important turning point for Turkey-Iran relations. Iran was one of the first countries to object the coup attempt which was made by the Gülenist structure that employed Turkish state extensions. Furthermore, Iran did not wait as did Turkey’s Western allies to attain an anti-coup position after it was certain that the attempt failed. The foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in his statement said that it was his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif that he talked to the most at the night of the coup attempt . The Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi, in a press release he made in July 16, expressed that Iran has deep concerns regarding stability, security, unity, democracy and rule of law in Turkey and that they support the elected government in Ankara. 
There are a number of practical bases for a country which a historical profundity such as Iran to take such a position in an extraordinary situation as the one Turkey experienced. The first of which is their conviction that the US and NATO had direct influence on the coup. The Iranian spiritual leader Ali Khamenei has expressed that there are strong doubts on whether it was the US who attempted the coup.  In the manifesto that was read on TRT at the night of the coup, a commitment to NATO was expressed, which has influenced the anti-coup position of Iran. Iran has for years kept the Gülen Movement at arm's length and prevented it from organizing in their country. The Iranian state movement for years argued that Gülen openly promoted animosity towards Iran and Shi'ism.
Another reason for Iran to assume an anti-coup position is the Reza Zarrab lawsuit in the US, in which the Iranian and Turkish citizen Reza Zarrab is standing trial. According to the accusation the defendants are accused of breaking US sanctions through corporations established in Turkey and Saudi Arabia . The lawsuit in question, as can be seen from accusation, concerns Iran as much as it concerns Turkey. If the July 15 coup attempt was a success, Iran may have become forced to struggle by itself in the international arena against the possible sanctions that may come out of this lawsuit.
The July's coup attempt also had serious regional fallout as much as it did globally. The Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, as he was briefing the Iranian Parliament regarding the coup attempt, alleged that countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar were for the coup . Saudi Arabia and Iran are two countries that regionally compete in the Middle East. The regional interests of these two countries with the most important energy potentials in the region significantly interfere. A successful coup attempt in Turkey supported by Saudi Arabia could result in negative outcomes for the regional interests of Iran.
Another important issue between these two countries is the question of Syria. The Foreign Ministry consultant Hossein Amir-Abdollahian expressed that as Iran protects the legitimate government in Syria against foreign intervention and terrorism, they condemn the coup attempt against Erdoğan. Amir-Abdollahian stated that "Erdoğan and Assad are two legitimate leaders that were elected by their people in a democratic way.”  When it is considered that Turkey has started to review its relations with the government in Damascus, it is apparent that with regards to the Syrian question, the interests of Iran and Turkey continue to draw nearer. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi's statement of request for Turkey to co-ordinate its military operations on the Syrian soil with the Damascus government supports this argument.  In this era where Turkey's relations with Russia are recovering, a basis is formed for two countries to collaborate on the Syrian issue.
Another point to dwell upon is the common security concerns of the governments of Ankara and Tehran. The Tehran government supported the Turkish government ever since the coup attempt came to light, since if it succeeded there was possibility of political instability and security issues in the Southeast which could spread to Iran. The Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli expressed that peshmergas loyal to the Komala Party and the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan have once again started armed attacks against Iran after 20 years. Rahmani Fazli, when he was also stating his views regarding the failed coup attempt in Turkey, interpreted the situation as a 'regional world war'. 
There was important fallout of such an attempt at an era when Turkey-Russia relations were at the top level. It is meaningful that Russian President Vladimir Putin's special representative Aleksandr Dugin was at Turkey during the night of the coup. After the coup, Dugin stated that he 'warned of an activity within the Turkish military' a day before the coup attempt . In the same interview, he expressed that they are aware that the Russian warplane was downed by putschists beyond the knowledge of Erdoğan and TAF.
If the coup succeeded, it was highly possible for the Gülenist movement which downed the warplane and brought these two countries on the brink of war, to play a similar game with its long-time enemy Iran. A possible tension or even war between Iran and Turkey, when the present situations of Iraq and Syria is considered, can be an important opportunity for those who want slide the entire geography of Middle East into chaos. The Tehran government recognized this and stood with the Turkish government since the very beginning. As an outcome of this collaboration, Iran supported the Jarablus Operation by staying silent, which drew reaction from the US and Western powers. Besides, when Iran's influence on Iraq is considered, it is beneficial for both countries to conjugate their movements in shutting down the Gülenist schools in the country and resist the possible risks that may arise due to the Mosul Operation.
References
- Yeni Akit(2016) ‘Dışişleri Bakanı Çavuşoğlu Darbe Gecesi En Çok Onunla Konuşmuş!’[Foreign Minister Çavuloğlu Spoke With Him the Most at Night of the Coup], 12 August 2016 http://www.yeniakit.com.tr/haber/disisleri-bakani-cavusoglu-darbe-gecesi-en-cok-onunla-konusmus- 202098.html
- Anka Haber (2016) ‘İran: Türkiye’nin Güvenliği İran İçin Önemli[Iran: Turkey's Secuirty is Crucial for Iran]’ , 19 July 2016 http://www.ankahaber.com.tr/dunya/iran-turkiyenin-guvenligi-iran-icin-onemli-h24576.html 
- Rudaw (2016) ‘ Tahran : 15 Temmuz’un Arkasında ABD Var![Tehran: The US is Behind July 15!]’, 1 Ağustos 2016 http://rudaw.net/turkish/middleeast/iran/01082016
- BBC Türkçe (2016) ‘ ABD’deki Reza Zarrab İddianamesinde Yer Alan Suçlamalar[Allegations in the US Indictment Against Reza Zarrab]’, 22 March 2016
- Bayram Sinkaya, ‘Darbe Girişiminin Türkiye-İran İlişkilerine Etkileri[Effects of the Coup Attempt on Turkey-Iran Relations]’, 5 August 2016 http://www.orsam.org.tr/index.php/Content/Analiz/4816?s=orsam%7Cturkish
- Sputnik (2016) ‘ İran: Esad’a Neden Destek Verdiysek, Erdoğan’a da Aynı Gerekçeyle Destek Verdik[Iran: We Supported Erdogan for the Same Reason We Supported Assad]’, 23 August 2016, https://tr.sputniknews.com/columnists/20160823/1024513416/iran-suriye-esad-turkiye- erdogan.html
- CNN Türk (2016) ‘İran’dan Cerablus Operasyonu Açıklaması[Iranian Statement Regarding the Jarablus Operation]’, 26 August 2016,
- Yeni Şafak (2016), ‘İran’dan Darbe Girişimine İlginç Yorum [Interesting Interpretation of the Coup Attempt by Iran]’, 21 July 2016, http://www.yenisafak.com/dunya/irandan-darbe-girisimine-ilginc-yorum-2497668
- Aydınlık (2016), ‘Alexander Dugin: 14 Temmuz’da Uyardık [Alexander Dugin: We Warned in July 14]’, 3 October 2016, http://www.aydinlik.com.tr/aleksandr-dugin-14-temmuzda-uyardik
Çağdaş Duman, Analyst, Strategic Outlook
19.10.2016 - Hit : 1320


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