Turkish-Iranian Relations: A Wider Perspective
By Serdar Poyraz
Policy Brief, No 37, November 2009
Turkey might play a role in reintegrating the Iranian state into the international system. Turkey’s initiatives may have a moderating influence on the Iranian state and would, in any case, be a better policy route to choose rather than a direct confrontation. It is a good sign for Iran and Turkey that the volume of trade between the two countries increased from $1.3 billion in 2002 to $10 billion in 2008. Iran is also be seen as a natural gateway by the Turkish state in order to reach into the markets of Central Asia and Pakistan. These kinds of Turkish political and economic initiatives will not only serve the interests of the Turkish and Iranian states but also have the potential to replace the aggressive military rhetoric of Western countries in dealing with Iran if the ultimate aim is to re-include Iran into the world economy and moderate its behavior. In addition, a more peaceful future for Iraq depends on reintegrating Iran with the rest of the world. Hence, the wiser course of action for western countries is to follow the Turkish example of engagement with Iran using diplomacy rather than issuing military and economic threats.