Turkey and Iran: will clash of interests lead to open conflict?
Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 3
By Rufiz Hafizoglu – Trend:
No matter how positively Ankara evaluates the expected lifting of sanctions on Iran, the parties have many serious differences regarding the Middle East.
And one of those differences springs from Tehran’s strengthening positions in that region.
Ankara has repeatedly stated its discontent over Iran’s stance towards a number of countries suffering from interconfessional conflicts among Muslims. These primarily are Syria, Iraq as well as Yemen.
Along with that, a number of Turkey’s government media outlets are already openly declaring that once sanctions on Iran are lifted, a number of Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, in particular Kuwait, will face serious problems.
Turkish media has said that while earlier Iran was secretly using the Shiite Muslim population in the mentioned countries, today Tehran openly takes advantage of this factor in a number of Arab countries.
It is also no secret that the Iranian authorities, with reinforcement of their positions in the region, seek political isolation of Turkey in the Middle East.
It is interesting that the split in relations between Ankara and Tehran started after one of the largest Sunni political groups, the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in Egypt.
Although the Muslim Brotherhood had good relations with Iran, its position regarding the events in Syria harmed the interests of Tehran.
Although the Muslim Brotherhood members were Sunnis, this was not in the interest of Saudi Arabia. Proceeding from this, Arabia gambled on a military coup in Egypt.
The Muslim Brotherhood was expected to begin armed resistance against the new authorities after the military coup. But the Muslim Brotherhood preferred to resist through democratic means, which are alien to the Saudis.
While Saudi Arabia was sponsoring a military coup in Egypt against the Muslim Brotherhood and regarded it as an ideological enemy, it missed the fact that after the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood, which represented the Sunni political Islam in the Arab world, Riyadh was actually delivering unique opportunities for Iran.
The collapse of Sunni political Islam in the Arab world does not mean that political Islam went underground. Turkey is one of the Sunni Muslim countries, which currently has claims to leadership in the region, as does Iran.
It is not excluded that 2016 will be the beginning of open conflict of interests between Tehran and Ankara in the region.
Edited by CN
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency’s Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu
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