Relations between Iran and Turkey, especially in the last two or three decades, have been a function of the neighborhood, political situation and regional status of the two countries. In fact, when we talk about the relations between Tehran and Ankara, the growing trend of relations, both in the economic and trade spheres and in the sovereign political willpower to promote relations, is raised. Diplomatic shuttles by the high ranking officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey, as well as regular meetings of the Joint Economic Commission and exchange of economic delegations operating in the fields of investment and other business sectors, all indicate a growing trend in bilateral relations between Tehran and Ankara.
On this basis, relations between Iran and Turkey can be analyzed under two main categories: First politics where by looking at the positions, partnerships, competitions, etc. the political behaviors of Tehran and Ankara make it clear what factors influence the two countries arrangement of the type of relationships they want.
Adopting unified stances in the course of negotiations and taking positions between Iranian and Turkish officials and in the political and security sectors based on bilateral relations, how to take positions on international issues, or how the two countries respond to the hostile and tough policies of the United States all affect the relations between the two neighbors.
In this context, mention can be made of the meetings and discussions between the two countries since long time ago, when there was talk of Turkey’s mediation between Iran and Europe on the nuclear issue, until today that talks on how to find regional solutions to crises such as Iraq and Syria.
Nevertheless, Iran-Turkey relations cannot be analyzed and evaluated just in a quiet platform as both countries face challenges or frictions as players pursuing their interests in the peripheral interests. Many experts sometimes regard this form of Iran-Turkey relationship as their regional rivalry, which is unavoidable.
True that in recent years, foreign policy orientations of Iran and Turkey on issues such as Syria have not followed the same line, but because of the regional considerations, there have been close meetings for dialogue and consensus to resolve the regional crisis within Astana Talks or trilateral meetings between Iran, Turkey and Russia have been held on a regular basis. But it must be admitted that countries prefer their own interests and priorities in the foreign policy arena.
Secondly, there is the question of economy and trade; the regional position and the economic potentials of Iran and Turkey have made the two countries move within a growing direction, from energy to investment and trade. It was only a few years ago that Turkish and Iranian leaders emphasized the need for $20 billion trade, while negotiations and cooperation on energy and its transfer as well as Turkey’s purchase of oil and gas from Iran itself are the basis for further cooperation.
Besides, the presence of Turkish companies and Turkish and Iranian contractors in bilateral cooperation has accelerated these relations, but this is not the whole story because in recent years, despite the emphasis on expanding open trade, we have seen fluctuations in the import-export volume.
In the meantime, at least over the past year when US policies against Iran and Turkey have toughened, the resolve to expand cooperation between Tehran and Ankara has grown stronger. Economically speaking, both the opportunity and the platform for closer economic relations between the two sides are available. So talks between the officials of the two countries, whether at formal bilateral meetings or on the sidelines of numerous forums, all signify that there is a will to further open trade and economic relations.
As a result, the prospect of relations between Tehran and Ankara remains subject to a set of political, regional, geopolitical and security conditions between the two countries. Considering what was said the factor of neighborhood and political resolve based on the development of relations can deepen the cooperation of the two major regional states and longtime neighbors.