- Waheed Yujeswe – Department of Political Science, University of Montreal
- Quoted from English: Muhammad Fawzi – researcher interested in international relations
The Arab Democratic Center
Since the coup attempt in 2016, bilateral relations between Ankara and Tehran have witnessed a major boost. Using and refining the thesis formulated by Stephen David and dubbed the collective balance omni-balancing , Where he argued that foreign policy behavior in the vicinity of the third world places within his accounts the internal threats to the system, this paper seeks to provide an explanation for this emerging convergence. This research argues that the AKP’s foreign policy after 2016 has become increasingly based on maintaining the regime’s survival, which is reflected in the relations between Ankara and Tehran. This rapprochement was reinforced by the consensus between the two countries in the positions on the following issues (1) the common position in favor of Qatar regarding the recent tension between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, (2) and the agreement to oppose the establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq, (3) and the increasingly troubled relations with United State. Through a careful analysis of the Turkish and Persian sources in addition to the official speech, this paper will expand to study these key aspects that have witnessed a significant improvement in the bilateral relations between the two countries, to reach a discussion of the extent of its solidarity.
War has not broken out between Turkey and Iran, two countries with a long history and long traditions in the management of the wheels of government, since the signing of the Shirin Palace Treaty in 1639, which demarcated the borders between the two countries without any change since then. Despite the sharp difference in ideological stances, both countries tolerated their dealings with their neighbors after the Iranian revolution in 1979. The Islamic Justice and Development Party came to power in Turkey in 2002. This initially helped the arrival of bilateral relations between Ankara. Tehran is promising, a trend that has taken root with the arrival of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) to power in Iran in 2005. Although regional goals have varied, Turkish Prime Minister (since 2014, he became head of state) found Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ahmadi Ahmadinejad is a common ground for moving relations forward to a new phase. Both leaders used populist rhetoric that promoted Islamic unity. Ahmadinejad also absolutely supported Turkey after the attack on the fleet, describing the Israeli attack on a Turkish ship as “an indication of weakness, not strength.”  At the age of Iran’s controversial presidential elections in 2009, which resulted in Ahmadinejad winning a second term, Erdogan quickly congratulated Ahmadinejad.  In 2010, Turkey offered to be a mediator following the failure of negotiations between Iran and the 5 + 1 group (a group of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) and to help Tehran settle its differences with the West with the assistance of Brazil. This period witnessed a boom in mutual cooperation, as evidenced by the unprecedented growth in the volume of trade between the two countries. It actually jumped from just $ 2.4 billion in 2002 to $ 22 billion by 2012. 
However, this friendship did not last long. It has been affected by the conflicting regional aspirations that became apparent after the Arab Spring, and in particular because of the protracted Syrian war, as the two countries sought to shape a different path for Syria’s future. Despite this, bilateral relations have improved significantly, after the attempted coup in July 2016 in Turkey. This improvement in relations was reinforced by subsequent regional and international circumstances that led to intersecting positions on a number of issues. The division between the Gulf Cooperation Council states and the referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq also created favorable conditions for cooperation between Ankara and Tehran. Internationally, both countries have witnessed a sharp deterioration in relations with the United States under the Trump administration, along with a sense of injustice towards US foreign policy in the Middle East.
Why did the rapprochement of these two regional powers, which were balancing each other, accelerate until July 2016. By employing the thesis formulated by Stephen David and called the collective balance, which argues that foreign policy behavior in the vicinity of the Third World places within his calculations internal threats to the system, this paper attempts to explain this convergence That followed the coup attempt in 2016. This research argues that after this event, the AK Party’s foreign policy became increasingly based on maintaining the regime’s survival, a development that other researchers have also suggested.  As a result, Ankara has begun to reassess many aspects of its relations with its neighbors.
Although Russia-Turkey relations also witnessed a significant recovery, the improvement of relations between Tehran and Ankara is particularly worth analyzing. This is because the two countries have been betting in the field of competing for influence in the region for decades. They adopted completely different positions on various issues. In light of these facts, it would be useful to focus on the increasing convergence that was fueled first and foremost by the attempted coup and reinforced by regional and international conditions. The new foreign policy of the Justice and Development Party’s government in order to maintain the regime’s survival has been linked to regional and international conditions. On the regional level, the rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar forced Turkey to align with Qatar, one of the ideological supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, with which the Justice and Development Party shares an ideological affinity. With regard to the referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan region, the presence of a large Kurdish minority in Turkey and the growing tensions in the country over the Kurdish issue posed a challenge to an already fragile stability in the wake of the coup attempt in Turkey. Internationally, the condemnation of the West (especially the United States) for Turkey’s response to the attempted coup led to the revulsion and revulsion of Ankara. Because of all these implications, Turkey and Iran found common ground for cooperation.
The research is organized to start with the presentation of the theoretical framework, with a special focus on the concept of collective balance. Then, the Iranian-Turkish relations will be examined after the Arab Spring. Finally, the convergence after the coup will be taken up in the final section as an example of collective balance. This rapprochement will be extrapolated through the joint position of the two countries in support of Qatar in the crisis in Saudi-Qatari relations and their joint opposition to the establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq and the two countries’ troubled relations with the United States.
Theoretical framework: collective balance
Stephen R. developed David’s collective equilibrium thesis addresses one of the weaknesses inherent in the theory of power balance. According to David, the balance of power theory does not take into account the distinguishing characteristics of the third world. In essence, the power balance theory emphasizes that the determinants of alliance-building stem mainly from the structure of the international system, and in particular, actual and potential external threats faced by states.  This assumption ignores the country’s internal characteristics, which may be related to influencing states ’decisions to enter into alliances.  As internal threats to a regime can compel its leaders to choose a policy of appeasement, that is, choose to ally with secondary opponents so that resources can be allocated to the main opponents. Accordingly, the threatened leadership aligns with one threat source to address the other threat source. As David notes, because the primary goal of many Third World leaders is to stay in power, they sometimes make the decision to enter into alliances in an effort to protect themselves at the expense of state interests. This pattern of balanced behavior is not addressed by the theory of power balance. 
By applying the theory of collective balance to Turkey’s strategic balance with its neighbors, especially with Iran, this paper also aims to make some theoretical improvements to the main assumptions of the theory. First, although David theoretically assumes that achieving collective balance requires leaders to be “weak and illegitimate”.  Erdogan’s case in Turkey is very helpful. Erdogan was largely consolidating his authority before the coup attempt in 2016, a process that was further strengthened after the coup attempt by purges in the military and the government sector. Despite the polarizing nature of Turkish society, Erdogan remains very popular. While his party came to power with 34.3 percent of the vote in 2002, its share of votes rose to 46.6 percent in 2007 and to 49.8 percent in 2011. In November 2015, just under a year before the coup attempt, the AKP secured about 50 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections, and formed a majority government. Erdogan was elected president in 2014 by majority vote. Hence, contrary to David’s hypothesis, Erdogan still has great legitimacy. However, the enjoyment of legitimacy did not prevent the government of the Justice and Development Party from making internal stability and stay in power the president preoccupied after the attempted coup. Secondly, David’s conception of the Third World assumed that the Third World “evolved over the centuries and that the vast majority of Third World countries were colonies in which foreign powers established countries that did not exist before.” However, contrary to David’s classification, Turkey has continuity in the traditions of the state, inherited from the Ottoman Empire, was not a colony and was not established by foreign powers. Nevertheless, after the coup, Turkish foreign policy is still reduced in the context of collective balance.
Beyond the Arab Spring: a setback in relations and regional budgets
When the Arab Spring 2010-2011 deposed authoritarian leaders in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya and warned of a wider expansion in the region, Iran and Turkey were ill-equipped to deal with such large-scale revolutions, and sought to find ways to invest in this movement. Iran welcomed the uprisings as part of the “Islamic Awakening,”  linking these movements to its Islamic revolution in 1979. While Turkey tried to focus on the advantage of its soft power, which is a combination of electoral democracy, economic success, and the ability of these countries to emulate the Turkish model.  On the domestic front, Erdogan was at the height of his power, as he had just emerged victorious from a popular referendum on constitutional amendments to reform the judiciary. 
Being in a strong position, Erdogan had an awareness of his strength. He sought to consolidate Turkey’s influence in the Middle East by making multiple diplomatic trips. His visits to Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were the most important response in the immediate aftermath of the Arab Spring, as he framed the motives for his tour as a gesture “to show that we [as a Turkish nation] stand with [these Arab countries] during these difficult times. 
With the expansion of the Arab Spring and its arrival in Syria, differences in regional objectives between Iran and Turkey surfaced, with each country having radically different interests and perceptions. In September 2011, Erdogan announced that relations between Turkey and Syria would be suspended and that Turkey would participate in imposing sanctions on Damascus.  He called on Assad to resign in a sharp tone, saying, “By God, upon you, who are you fighting?” Fighting your people to death is not heroism, it is cowardice. ”  This was followed by Turkey’s provision of logistical assistance to the Free Syrian Army, which opened its general command headquarters for the first time in Khatai Governorate in 2012. Ankara continued its support to the Syrian opposition steadily throughout 2013 and 2014 with the adoption of a policy allowing foreign fighters to cross the border; However, this policy later became controversial, especially because of the rise of Islamic groups, such as Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra, especially the Islamic State (ISIS). In 2015, Erdogan harshly criticized Iran and Russia for their support and support for the Assad regime, in particular accusing Iran of stirring sectarianism in Syria and prolonging the conflict. 
Turkey’s unequivocal stance on removing Assad from power as part of its resolute foreign policy has paved the way for an increasingly conflictual relationship with Iran. While Iran seemed sympathetic to the Arab Spring uprisings elsewhere in the Middle East, it viewed the conflict in Syria as an imperialist conspiracy and refused to link it with the “Islamic Awakening”. A war of words began between Iran and Turkey. Tehran saw Ankara’s interference in the Syrian conflict as part of a US-led and Saudi-funded conspiracy to undermine Iran’s regional reach.  After Hassan Rouhani became president of Iran in 2013 and the joint comprehensive plan of action was signed in July 2015 on Iran’s nuclear program, Erdogan quickly called him and congratulated him. Despite this, when a short time later, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, toured some countries of the region, excluding both Turkey and Saudi Arabia from his stops, even though he was scheduled to visit Ankara.  Although Zarif attributed this cancellation to problems related to scheduling the tour, an article published by France 24 claimed that the postponement of the visit was the result of a Turkish newspaper publishing an article by Zarif criticizing Turkish foreign policy. 
As the war erupted in Yemen, differences between Turkey and Iran worsened. When the pro-Iranian Houthi rebels ousted President Mansour Hadi, the Saudi-Iranian competition for regional hegemony turned the country into a battleground for new battles, as the Saudis accused Iran of fanning sectarian tensions. In light of this situation, Turkey announced its full support for the Saudi position in Yemen. In an interview in March 2015, Erdogan said that Ankara might consider providing “logistical support” for the Saudi-led military mission in Yemen, adding that “Iran and terrorist groups should withdraw.” He also indicated that “Iran aims to increase its influence in Iraq.” It is pursuing ISIS in the region only to replace it. These statements angered Iranian officials. The first reaction came from Javad Zarif, who criticized Turkey for “adopting harmful policies” in the region, and Iran also summoned the Turkish ambassador to Tehran to express its protest against Erdogan’s statements.  This war of declarations was so influential that one of Erdogan’s advisers confirmed that he had led him to consider canceling his visit to Iran in April 2015; However, due to the insistence of the Iranian side, arrangements for the visit remained.  While the possibility of making lucrative business deals after the lifting of sanctions could explain part of the reason why both Rouhani and Erdogan agreed to complete the visit, it may also speculate that Erdogan and his ministers visited Tehran to obtain reassurances about Iran’s regional ambitions. 
Prior to his visit, Hossein Mansour Haqiktor, a spokesman for the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian Parliament, publicly requested 65 MPs to cancel Erdogan’s visit, and called for a formal apology from him for what they described as “degrading” statements.  Haqiqatvor, referring to Erdogan as “Recep Pasha,” stated that he “must abandon the new Ottoman ideology and apologize to the great nations of the region.” 
As the diplomatic bickering continued, Iranian media, especially channels close to the Revolutionary Guard, increasingly criticized Turkish interference in the Syrian war, accusing Ankara of supporting terrorists in Syria.  When Erdogan Rouhani called in 2015 to talk about the Iranian role in the Syrian conflict and asked him to explain the accusations leveled by the Iranian press in Turkey, Rouhani replied: “The press in Iran is free and he cannot impose censorship on what is being written in it” Erdogan replied with sarcasm Everyone knows how free your press is! The effects of the Arab Spring deepened the state of competition through the tools of soft power and the struggle for influence in the Arab world, and the two powers were immersed in creating a proxy war in the region, while Turkey continued its attempt to balance Iran. This goal was particularly evident when Turkey joined Saudi Arabia in 2015 to curb Iran’s growing influence in the region.
These diplomatic wrangling and security issues have affected bilateral economic relations. While the volume of trade exchange between Iran and Turkey reached nearly 22 billion dollars in 2012, this number decreased by 2014 to 13.7 billion dollars, due in large part to differences on political and security issues, as well as international sanctions imposed on Iran . In spite of the complete variation in the regional and geopolitical goals of both countries and the aforementioned setbacks, energy relations remained. This is due to the mutual needs of both countries in response to economic motives. The geographical proximity of Iran and the abundant oil and gas resources in the country were a factor that Turkey could not ignore, which added to the complex nature of their relations. At the World Energy Forum held in October 2013 in South Korea, Turkish Energy Minister Tanner Yildiz said that although Turkey buys nearly 10 billion cubic meters of gas from Iran, the amount is still not sufficient for Turkey’s needs. And Ankara was ready to buy more natural gas. He also pledged not to stop buying 100,000 bpd of crude oil imports from Iran in light of Turkey’s energy needs. This was also a denunciation of Western pressure on Turkey to reduce its energy imports from Iran as part of international sanctions. On the Iranian side, Turkey accounted for nearly 90 percent of Iranian gas exports, while by the end of the Ahmadinejad era in 2013, Iran had become Turkey’s largest oil supplier, with Ankara importing 43.1 percent of its oil needs from Iran.  For Iran, trade relations with Turkey – in the context of sanctions and the country’s faltering economy – were vital.  These trends continued to maintain close economic relations, especially in the energy field, after the gradual lifting of economic sanctions in the aftermath of the Iran nuclear deal in 2015. However, it should be borne in mind that while economic ties were preserved, the That alone was not enough to heal the rift in increasingly strained diplomatic ties.
Meanwhile, Ankara’s relationship with Moscow, one of Iran’s closest allies, has entered a more confrontational stage. In November 2015, a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down a Russian attack aircraft while it was flying near the Turkish-Syrian border. The incident angered Russian President Vladimir Putin, who considered Ankara’s shooting down a “stab in the back” by “terrorist partners”.  This resulted in a sharp deterioration in diplomatic and economic relations with Russia, in the form of a severe blow to Turkey’s exports and investments in Russia. Tehran also responded to the downing of the Russian plane. Rouhani described Ankara’s work as “very dangerous” and “provocative” and said that the consequences of such practices “rest with the initiator”, while urging the two countries to cooperate against terrorist groups in Syria.  Relations with Russia have been improving since June 2016, after Erdoانan publicly apologized for the downing of the Russian plane.
In sum, regardless of the continued energy cooperation due to the mutual needs of both countries, relations between Ankara and Tehran – even when the coup attempt occurred in 2016 – were increasingly marked by mutual mistrust and public accusations, as both regional powers tried to balance each other . Ankara’s policy on the Syrian issue emphasized the removal of Assad from power, as it distanced itself from Moscow, Tehran and Damascus. And there were more repercussions from the Syrian conflict such as the emergence of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union (PYD), which Turkey accuses of belonging to the PKK, a Turkish Kurdish militant group that Turkey considers a terrorist organization.
The coup attempt in 2016: the collective balance in Turkish foreign relations
The July 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan prompted the AK Party leadership to resort to a measure of self-accountability in its international relations and alliances. Foreign policy formulation has become “contingent” on internal issues and priorities.  In line with Stephen David’s thesis on collective balance, the internal security threats faced by Erdogan’s regime during and after the coup attempt compelled him to choose a policy of appeasement regarding secondary (external) threats and alignment with secondary opponents in an attempt to allocate resources to root out the main (internal) opponents. Consequently, the formulation of foreign policy became based on confronting internal threats.
The coup failed after Erdogan managed to rally a large number of supporters in the streets, confusing the coup plotters. Erdogan soon pointed the finger of accusation at Fethullah Gulen, the Islamic preacher, and his supporters (also known as the Gulans). To this day, Gulen still lives in self-imposed exile in the United States. Despite the alliance that initially brought them together, Erdogan and Gulen have become bitter foes. The Turkish government has accused Gulen of leading a terrorist organization, and the army and public institutions have been cleared of thousands of Gulans as well as many other opponents of Erdogan. Large numbers of people have also been arrested. By January 2017, 41,326 people out of 103,850 suspects had been arrested, and 902 others were still in detention. While Western governments condemned the coup attempt – albeit after some delay, as most reactions took more than 24 hours to shock the leadership of the Justice and Development Party – they were unequivocal in criticizing the wave of arrests and human rights violations after the coup. A month after the coup attempt, Turkey’s disappointment with the West was still very evident in interviews by AKP officials with Western media. In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, Rawda Kawakji Gan, the Parliamentary deputy for the Justice and Development Party, expressed her dismay at the West’s position by saying, “We are really disappointed, showing some sympathy for those who stood in front of the tanks. While Western governments express concern about the conspirators in the attempted coup, these cowards, more than their interest in the Turkish people.  The leadership of the Justice and Development Party has pressed relentlessly for Fatahullah Gulen to take over from the United States, a demand that the Obama administration has not met and has not been heard by the Trump administration so far.
Meanwhile, despite the strained relations between Tehran and Ankara, statesmen in Iran were quick to condemn the coup attempt. Javad Zarif called his Turkish counterpart, Born in Gawishoglu, within hours of the coup attempt. Moreover, Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, which oversees the formulation of the country’s national security policies, announced his support for the government of the Justice and Development Party, saying, “We support the legitimate government in Turkey and oppose any kind of coups – whether internal parties are behind it. Or it was supported by foreign powers. ” Although Tehran was increasingly dissatisfied with Ankara’s regional policies, the failure of the coup attempt was in Tehran’s interest for several reasons. If the coup masters were Kemalists, Iran would not have expected better relations with Turkey than it was under Erdogan’s rule, as the state of relations between Ankara and Tehran was not perfect throughout the eighties and nineties before the Justice and Development Party came to power.  Moreover, the prospect of the Golanists’ involvement in the coup attempt also caused Tehran to resent it, as it is known that Fathallah Gulen was a strong critic of Iran and the Iranian regime. The Iranian regime also saw the possibility of an internal uprising with an increase in tension, given that the memory of the public demonstrations by the opposition in 2009 is still fresh in the memory of the Iranians against what was widely seen as fraud in the presidential elections.  Consequently, given the resentment that many Iranians were simmering against their regime, the success of the coup would also have led to more grumbling among the Iranians. Besides Iran, the tough measures taken by Erdogan after the coup against the rebel elements, and the fact that Ankara’s ties have already been strained with Turkey’s NATO allies, have given the AK Party leadership a greater incentive to further cooperation with Russia, which has also provided Full support for Erdogan after the coup attempt. 
A fundamental change in Ankara’s policy towards Syria
Given the nascent Turkish rapprochement with Iran and Russia, and the stalemate in Turkey’s relations with the West, Ankara’s policy toward Syria has gone through fundamental reviews. Turkey has stimulated these reviews to realize its own limits. In Syria, Turkey gradually understood the fact that it not only failed to impose its vision of a solution to the Syrian issue, but was also facing the trend of rising Kurdish nationalism in the region. So Turkey no longer promotes regime change in Syria. On August 20, 2016, Prime Minister Ben Ali Yildirim officially announced the new Ankara policy towards Syria, which aims to resolve the crisis with the participation of all major players, including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Despite the differences between Iran and Turkey over the Syrian issue, both countries decided to focus on what they consider common threats: the possibility of an independent Kurdish state and the threat of the Islamic State (ISIS). This was a clear indication of Turkey’s focus on internal stability, which is directly related to the stability of Erdogan’s regime in the country, and this is fully consistent with Stephen David’s thesis on collective balance. Moreover, Turkey has been categorical in its classification of Kurdish groups linked to the PKK in Syria as a threat, while Iran, on the other hand, has maintained a cold peace with these groups while remaining strongly opposed to the establishment of a Kurdish state in Syria.
The improvement of relations between Iran and Turkey has withstood even the test of the fall of Aleppo in December 2016, when both Ankara and Tehran were openly supporting the parties in conflict. In spite of the anger that some media close to the Justice and Development Party government and pro-AKP research and study centers such as Sita,  , officials in Ankara have refrained from expressing criticism of Iran. In a phone call collected with Iranian officials, Yildirim was limited to expressing his concern about the plight of civilians trapped in the city, and stressed Turkey’s readiness to facilitate efforts to bring them back to their homeland. 
In December 2016, Turkey, Iran, and Russia launched and agreed to create “de-escalation” areas in Syria, which reversed the balance of the conflict in favor of the Syrian regime. By 2019, trilateral cooperation between Iran, Turkey and Russia in Syria was still somewhat coherent. In April 2019, when Gawishoglu hosted Javad Zarif in Turkey, he said: “For the sake of lasting peace in Syria and maintaining the ceasefire in Idlib, we continue to work together to coordinate on various issues, including the US decision to withdraw from Syria. ”  As the Syrian regime escalated its attack on Idlib, which was a stronghold of the revolutionaries, Russia and Iran avoided entering into conflict with Turkey despite their differences with it. While Turkey was reluctant to speak to Kurdish groups, it also wanted to control the scope of military operations in Idlib against the rebels to stem the further influx of refugees to its borders. For Iran, strengthening Assad’s grip on all parts of Syria was a priority. However, both countries were in a state of interdependence. While Ankara had the ability to help Tehran mitigate the negative effects of US sanctions, Iran’s influence on Assad as well as the potential military role it could play in Idlib were the main tools Tehran had in bargaining for Ankara.  Thus, Turkey’s stance towards Syria has become far removed from its previous categorical stance designed to topple Assad before the coup attempt.
Joint support to Qatar during the Qatari-Saudi conflict
In June 2017, a diplomatic crisis erupted between Qatar and Saudi Arabia when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain suddenly decided to sever their diplomatic ties with Doha. They invoked Doha’s support for “terrorism”. The Saudis also received support from the Trump administration, as Trump on June 6 tweeted support for Saudi Arabia and criticized Doha’s funding of “radical thought”.  In reference to Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood. When these countries cut ties with Qatar, it submitted a list of 13 requirements to Doha, among which was reducing the level of growing diplomatic ties with Iran and cutting ties with all “terrorist organizations”, including the Muslim Brotherhood; End the Turkish military presence in Qatar and stop any joint military cooperation with Turkey; Qatar has stopped providing support to Saudi and Emirati opponents. With regard to Iran, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, praised Iran as an “Islamic force”, according to what was circulated, and criticized US President Donald Trump’s policy toward Iran.  The Saudi coalition threatened Qatar with a comprehensive trade embargo and gave Doha a deadline to comply with its demands. Thus, Turkey and Iran found that they suddenly became aligned on the same front in the conflict, as they both supported Qatar.
Historically, Qatar has had very close ties to Erdogan in Turkey. Both Doha and Ankara were supporting the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt under Morsi before it was overthrown in 2013 by the Egyptian army. With regard to the Justice and Development Party in Turkey, the classification of the Muslim Brotherhood, with which it shares a close ideological affinity, as a terrorist group by Saudi Arabia was unacceptable. But one of the equally important reasons behind Turkey’s standing with Doha is Qatar’s position that explicitly supported the Justice and Development Party during the coup attempt, as the Emir of Qatar Al-Thani explicitly used the phrase “sister Republic of Turkey” when expressing Qatar’s solidarity.  Erdogan himself praised Qatar’s support, saying, “I must mention the name of the Emir of Qatar; Who called me constantly [on the night of the coup attempt to reassure me]. ” All in all, given that Turkey’s foreign policy has become increasingly based on maintaining the regime’s survival after the coup attempt (consistent with Stephen David’s thesis on collective balance), Erdogan chose to stand with Qatar and Iran, the two countries that gave him explicit support during the coup attempt.
On the economic front, and even before the crisis, relations between Qatar and Turkey were flourishing. While these economic relations have been developing for a long time since the Justice and Development Party came to power, Qatar’s advocacy of Erdogan in the post-coup period has given these economic ties a strong boost as Turkey signed more trade and investment deals with Qatar.  By 2017, Turkish companies were undertaking projects worth about $ 11.6 billion in Qatar, most of which were projects related to the FIFA World Cup, to be hosted by Qatar in 2022, while Qatar invested more than $ 20 billion in Turkey. , To become the second largest investing country in Turkey,  while Turkey ranks seventh among the countries that receive Doha foreign investment. The volume of trade between Qatar and Turkey nearly doubled between 2012 and 2016, from $ 339.5 million to $ 710 million.  Turkey also decided to deploy forces in Qatar in what appeared to be an escalation of its pro-Qatar stance against Saudi Arabia.
As for Iran, since before the state of the rift in Qatar’s relations with Saudi Arabia, its relations with Doha have been difficult to accurately describe. I often swing up and down. For example, in early January 2016, Qatar announced that it would withdraw its ambassador from Iran after hundreds of Iranians attacked Saudi diplomatic facilities in Tehran and a scene in response to the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.  Earlier in March 2015, Qatar also announced that it would participate in Saudi-led air strikes on the targets of pro-Iranian Houthis in Yemen. Despite Qatar’s largely pro-Saudi stance on these issues, the adoption of realistic positions has been largely a distinctive feature of Qatari foreign policy. Hence, despite its historical support for the goals of Saudi foreign policy on Iran within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Doha has also had to maintain some degree of cooperation with Tehran by virtue of sharing the world’s largest natural gas field with Iran.  Therefore, Qatar did not view Iran as a threat as much as the Saudis traditionally did, in what appears to be the underlying cause of the dispute with the Gulf Cooperation Council states. Iran also saw the Qatar crisis as an opportunity to forge a potential beneficial friendship, especially given its deteriorating relations with Saudi Arabia.
Upon the outbreak of the crisis, four Arab countries imposed a trade blockade on Qatar, while also closing its airspace to Doha. Before the crisis, nearly 80 percent of Qatar’s food needs were imported from the major GCC countries. However, after the crisis, Turkey and Iran tried to bridge the gap by shipping food to Doha.  Iran has also opened its airspace to Qatar aircraft that are no longer able to pass through Saudi airspace. 
Common opposition to a Kurdish state
With a significant Kurdish population in both Iran and Turkey, the possibility of an independent Kurdish state in Iraq has always been a sensitive issue. However, both countries have maintained friendly relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq. For Turkey, these friendly relations were a direct result of Erdogan’s determination to weaken the PKK by putting pressure on the Kurdistan Regional Government.  Moreover, the growing economic and trade relations between Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government have contributed significantly to the positive transformation in relations. For example, by the year 2009-2010, Iraq (mainly the Kurdistan Regional Government) was among Turkey’s largest trading partners. According to the figures obtained from the Turkish-Iraqi Business and Industrial Association, the value of Turkish exports to Iraq through the Khabour border crossing reached $ 12 billion in 2013 while the goal was to increase the volume of trade exchange to $ 50 billion by the year 2023.  ] Turkish exports would later decline to $ 10.8 billion in 2014, $ 8.5 billion in 2015, and $ 7.64 billion in 2016 due in large part to the turmoil in Iraq. In the first ten months of 2017, exports exceeded the figures in 2016 to 7.66 billion dollars. 
In the security environment that followed the coup in Turkey, which saw the arrest and dismissal of hundreds of thousands of people, the government campaign spread to Kurdish activists. The surge in Kurdish activity challenged Erdogan’s rule and the stability of his regime. By November 2016, 30 Kurdish mayors were sacked, while the government also suspended more than 11,000 teachers from working in Kurdish-majority areas, and closed at least 20 Kurdish media outlets.  Against this tense background, Salahuddin Demirtaş, the imprisoned co-chair of the Kurdish-oriented HDP, sent a letter from his prison in which he expressed his full support for the referendum conducted by the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq on independence. In an interview with a Western correspondent, the HDP Deputy Presidency, Hsiyar Ozsoy, said: “Imagine if an independent Kurdish state borders your borders while you are in your home country not allowing Kurds to teach in their mother tongue … this will make it very difficult for [the Turkish government] to continue In its current policy towards the Kurdish question in Turkey ‘.  Thus, the reluctance to the directions of Kurdish independence was extremely important.
Regarding Iran, the relations between the Kurds of Iraq and Tehran go back to the era of Saddam Hussein when the Kurds sided with Iran during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.  On the military front, while the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq was grappling with the threat of the Islamic State (ISIS), Iran was one of the first countries to come to the aid of its understanding that the Islamic State (ISIS) was a common enemy. Moreover, trade between Iran and the Kurdistan Regional Government has been an important catalyst of relations. There are five border markets between the two regions, as the Kurdistan region of Iraq represents an important market for Iranian exporters.  As such, the volume of trade between Tehran and Erbil when it peaked in 2014 exceeded $ 8 billion, making Iran the second largest trading partner of the Kurdistan Regional Government after Turkey. Hence, the Kurdistan region, which is locked geographically (as it does not have a sea port on the outside world) is economically highly dependent on Turkey and Iran, forcing the region’s government to walk a thin line between its aspirations for independence and survival economically.
The announcement of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s organization of a referendum elicited violent warnings from both Tehran and Ankara, as it increased the convergence of these two regional powers and the existence of a common goal in the space of the Middle East. As an indication of the recovery of relations between Iran and Turkey, the head of the General Staff of the Iranian armed forces, Muhammad Bagheri, visited Ankara in August 2017 in the first visit of its kind since the Iranian revolution in 1979. The pro-government Turkish newspaper Sabah referred to Bagheri’s visit as A sign that “the two sides are more prepared than ever to reach deals in Syria and Iraq.”  Bagheri told the official Iranian News Agency (IRNA) that “this visit was necessary for better consultation and cooperation on various military and regional issues.” During this visit, the two sides clarified their common position on the possibility of holding a Kurdish referendum (in Iraqi Kurdistan on secession) on September 25, 2017. Bagheri told (IRNA), in meetings involving the Turkish and Iranian sides, that the two countries “stressed that if the referendum is held, It will be the source of a series of tensions and conflicts inside Iraq, which will have consequences for neighboring countries. ” 
Once the result of the referendum was announced, in which approximately 92 percent of the Kurdistan region’s voters voted in favor of independence, both Iran and Turkey expressed their strong dissatisfaction. Two days after the results of the referendum were announced, Secretary of the Supreme Council for National Security of Iran, Ali Shamkhani, announced that Iran would exert all kinds of pressure on the Kurdistan Regional Government to discourage it from the decision.  On October 2, at another historic moment in the course of relations between Ankara and Tehran, the head of the Turkish General Staff, General Khulusi Akar, visited Tehran where he met high-ranking Iranian officials to discuss regional issues. The issue of the referendum on the secession of Iraqi Kurdistan was the focus of their talks. While the tension eased after the referendum results were canceled between the Kurdistan Regional Government on the one hand, and Iran and Turkey on the other hand, Tehran and Ankara eventually went to direct full support for a greater role for the Iraqi central government as a result of their talks with Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi Prime Minister, while he dealt a blow Strong relations for the growing regional Kurdistan. 
The increasingly troubled relationship with the United States
Since internal stability and maintenance of regime survival (consistent with Stephen David’s thesis on collective balance) have become the actual guiding principles of Turkey’s foreign policy after the coup attempt in 2016, Ankara’s relations with the West have been severely damaged by the recent lukewarm support of Erdogan during and after the coup attempt . Ankara has asked Washington for the immediate handover of Gulen, but this request has not been unnoticed by the American administration. While Erdogan pressed the United States about Gulen, he also accused the American General Joseph Votel, the commander of the US Army’s Central Region Operations, of standing alongside the coup plotters and directed him to say, “Hold your borders […] You are siding with the revolutionaries instead of thanking this country that thwarted an attempt The coup. ” Moreover, the fact that British Prime Minister Theresa May took six months to visit Turkey after the coup attempt, while the British condemnation of the ill-treatment of the conspirators in the coup attempt in haste, also contributed to the heightening of this tension. 
Although Donald Trump’s arrival to power in 2017 revived the Turkish administration’s hopes that the US foreign policy might become more in line with Turkish interests, these hopes were short-lived. One of the initial reasons for this was that Trump’s cooperation in Syria with Kurdish militia against the Islamic State (ISIS) had offended Ankara. Erdogan has responded to the Americans ’cooperation with the Kurds by saying that Washington“ is creating a terrorist army ”and vowing to“ strangle him ”.  Despite the rejection of the United States, Turkey launched two major military operations in northern Syria: (1) Operation Euphrates Shield and (2) the Olive Branch, where the latter was specifically launched to evacuate Kurdish-controlled sites in Afrin. Erdogan announced his intention to expand operations east to Manbij, which he described as a “terrorist stronghold.” Despite the fact that the US military was reinforcing its positions along the Turkish border in what appeared to be a response to Ankara’s warnings.  Despite America’s displeasure with Turkey’s operations, Russia gave the green light to Turkey in exchange for the latter’s silence on the bombing of Ghouta by the Russian and Syrian armies.  Ankara’s silence toward the bombing of Ghouta was another indication that assisting the rebels in the Syrian crisis is no longer a goal that Turkish politics are overrun and that relations with Russia and Iran were a priority at the expense of Ankara’s previous policy toward Syria. This was tacit approval of the Assad regime’s continued rule. Thus, Turkey began to approach the sphere of Russian influence, which undermined the relations between Ankara and Washington.
As a sign of the worsening problems in relations between Washington and Ankara, Turkey announced in 2016 its desire to purchase the S-400 air defense system from Russia. In 2017, Turkey signed an agreement with Moscow to deliver the S-400 missile system in a deal valued at $ 2.5 billion.  However, the deal angered Americans who threatened Ankara with sanctions.  Against this background, Erdogan said, “You did not object to the position of Greece [regarding its purchase of the S-300 systems from Russia], but you announced that you will not allow Turkey to obtain the S-400.” And you claimed that contacting Russia was wrong. They also threatened that you could impose sanctions. We will not be responsible for providing you with any justifications. We will go on the right track without making any concessions in order to achieve our goals. ” 
On the other hand, Ankara’s detention of American citizens was another factor that contributed to the undermining of diplomatic relations between Turkey and the United States. The arrest of the pastor, Andrew Branson, on charges of supporting the coup plotters in 2016, led to a diplomatic row between Ankara and Washington. Because of Branson’s arrest, as well as Ankara’s increasing rapprochement with the Russians, the US House of Representatives approved a bill in March 2018 to stop the sale of F-35s to Turkey.  The US Senate also approved the bill prohibiting the sale of these combat aircraft to Turkey.  Soon after, Trump stopped delivery of aircraft to Turkey in an atmosphere of escalating rift between Washington and Ankara. 
On the Iranian side, relations with the United States have been tense since the 1979 revolution and the hostage-taking crisis that followed. After years of clamor by the Ahmadinejad administration against the Americans over Iran’s controversial nuclear program, the Obama administration, with the participation of the European Union, slapped Tehran through a set of comprehensive sanctions. After lengthy negotiations and tacit approval of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, the joint comprehensive plan of action was signed on October 18, 2015. As part of this nuclear deal, severe sanctions were to be lifted. However, despite the commitment of the European Union to a large extent to ease the sanctions, the United States continued to impose many severe sanctions on the banking sector in Iran, even under Obama. 
Tensions with the United States were renewed as Trump came to power. He has long considered the JCPOA “the worst deal in history”.  He launched a violent attack on her in his electoral platform, in which he promised to withdraw from her. After coming to power, his administration began to replace Obama’s policy toward a resilient confrontational Iran, seeking to counter Iran through a multifaceted campaign of diplomatic, economic and military pressure. The Trump administration has been particularly unhappy with Iran’s growing military presence in the Middle East region alongside Tehran’s relentless efforts to develop ballistic missiles. Finally, in June 2018, Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal unilaterally from the JCPOA, in a way that not only shocked the international community, but also Iranian politicians. He also announced the imposition of unilateral sanctions on Iran, which quickly forced many European companies investing in Iran to abandon their contracts with the Iranians. Immediately after that, European companies such as Maersk and Total announced that they would withdraw from Iran. 
One of the things that irritated the Trump administration in recent times was Ankara’s announcement of the European Union’s model of its opposition to Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear agreement. In a phone call he had with Rouhani as soon as Trump withdrew, Erdogan expressed his keenness to stick to the agreement and maintain the prosperous economic relations between the two countries.  However, the secondary sanctions  imposed by the United States on all entities dealing with Iran raise the risks of adversely affecting the volume of trade between Ankara and Tehran.  However, what is more important is that, given that both Tehran and Ankara have a special injustice from the Trump administration, their highly growing relationship, which is particularly centered on the sphere of Russian influence, is likely not to be affected in the short or even short term. The average.
Bilateral relations between Ankara and Tehran have seen a huge boost since the attempted coup in 2016. Since then, while Turkish foreign policy behavior has become increasingly centered around maintaining the AKP’s stay in power, it has also created opportunities for rapprochement with Iran. While the Syrian civil war has previously caused severe divisions in the Middle East between Iran and Turkey, Ankara no longer promises to topple Assad in the wake of the coup attempt. It began direct cooperation with Iran, Russia and Syria to find a solution to the conflict. The Qatar crisis and the referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan in the context of the post-coup political climate in Turkey have also created strong foundations for the significant development of relations between Ankara and Tehran. This boost was also reinforced in bilateral relations because of the feelings of injustice endured by both countries for reasons related to each of them towards the Trump administration in the United States, and Ankara’s increasing tendency to be drawn to the field of Russian influence.
On the theoretical level, this paper confirms the validity of Stephen David’s theory of collective balance, which argues that the decision to build alliances in the third world depends not only on considerations of external threats, but rather that internal threats to systems can compel leaders to choose a policy of appeasement, i.e. choice Alliance with secondary opponents so that resources can be allocated to primary opponents. Since the main goal of many Third World leaders is to remain in power, they sometimes fortify themselves at the expense of the interests of the state. This type of budget behavior is not presented by the theory of power balance. Applying this theory to Turkey’s strategic balance with Iran, this article has also provided some theoretical checks on collective balance: (1) As collective balance can occur when leaders do not face a legal crisis (2) Likewise, collective balance can occur in parts of the third world that were not previously colonized by foreign powers and have continuity in the traditions of the state like Turkey. While this research used this revised framework to explore the depths of Turkish-Iranian relations, further research can also extrapolate Turkish-Russian relations based on the same theoretical framework.
Although the current situation promises the continuation of these growing relations between Iran and Turkey in the short or even medium term, it must be borne in mind that the magnitude of the internal threats in Turkey is what paved the way for the continuous rapprochement with Iran. However, the two countries should expect to face a number of future challenges in the future. First of all, although Turkey no longer uses the discourse of “regime change” in Syria against Assad, Tehran still resents the military presence of Ankara in northern Syria, including That Afrin. Since Iran is committed to maintaining stability in Syria for strategic reasons, it is likely that any escalation of the ongoing conflict is costly for Tehran. Second, despite Turkey’s displeasure with the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, Ankara is likely to commit to complying with recent US sanctions in order not to further deteriorate its relations with Washington. Signs of this compliance were already visible. As of May 2019, Turkey closed its ports to Iranian oil, in full compliance with US sanctions.  Prior to May 2018, the end date of the US deadline granted to Turkey to import Iranian oil, Turkey was importing 47 percent of all of its oil needs from Iran, while this number decreased to 12 percent by May 2019.  However, despite Turkey’s compliance with US sanctions on Iran, diplomatic relations between Tehran and Ankara remained the first.
Moreover, although Turkey’s relations with the West have recently witnessed serious obstacles, if a lesson can be taken from history regarding Turkey’s current and prosperous relations with Moscow, it stresses that the Ottoman-Russian relations were often characterized by tension and conflict. . Hence, it remains to be seen whether Turkey’s attraction to the Russian sphere of influence is likely to be beneficial for Turkey in the long run, or if tensions are likely to surface in the foreseeable future.
Finally, Turkey’s relations with most of the countries of the Middle East are also highly conflictual, including Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (bypassing Qatar), as well as with many of its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Hence it is illogical for Turkey not to have a good relationship with Iran, especially given the existence of some common regional denominators, which arose primarily as a result of internal threats to the regime in Turkey. It remains that, if the internal threats to Erdogan’s regime diminish, Turkey may re-evaluate its relations with Iran. Another factor is the possibility of reforming Turkey, which has deteriorated in its relations with its NATO allies, and how to deal with the crisis of the Gulf Cooperation Council. In the event of any possibility of rapprochement between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, this may also induce Turkey to reassess its rapprochement with Tehran. However, for the time being, relations are likely to flourish.
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The researcher refers to the Zionist gang army assault on six ships carrying relief and humanitarian aid on board to break the siege imposed on Gaza (Freedom Flotilla). Activists who were on board. The translator
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