Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party appears to be recalibrating its Iran policy and increasingly distancing itself from the more vocal support it previously gave the Iranian regime. As the two powers tussle over Syria, Iraq and other issues, analysts warn that their rivalry for leadership in the Middle East is only likely to sharpen.
But, for now, at least officially, Turkey maintains that it is still committed to maintaining its outreach to Iran and moving beyond the mutual suspicions that characterized the two countries’ relations in decades past.
“We are doing our best to create the atmosphere for dialogue,” one senior Turkish diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told EurasiaNet.org. “Yes, we don’t agree about all issues with Iran -- about what’s happening in Iraq, in Syria -- but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk with them. We are expressing our concerns and reactions with them about everything face-to-face.”
Some recent statements from Turkish officials, though, suggest a more complex picture.
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Yigal Schleifer is a freelance journalist who focuses on Turkey. He is the editor of Eurasianet's Turkofile and Kebabistan blogs.