SHAFAQNA- Mr. Davutoglu made his first visit to Tehran as prime minister. The timing of his trip is important since the sanctions on Iran were lifted following the JCPOA and the moderates who implemented this deal gained more power resulting from the Feb. 26 elections.
Normalization of the political ties between Iran and Turkey
Many journalists highlighted this trip as being only to advance the economic and trade relations between the two countries. However, it is not limited to this. It is the right step taken at the right time to normalize the political relations between the two neighbors. It is evident that the relations were virtually frozen for a year and the hope is that Mr. Davutoglu’s visit will be a good start to calm down tensions in the relationship.
As both states have suffered from isolation within the region, it is a good opportunity for them to emerge as countries willing to cooperate for the well-being of the peoples in the region. It is crucial to continue these mutual visits at the executive levels. People in both countries went to the ballot boxes recently and now they both have a new vision and these executive visits will enable them to know each other better. That way they will understand their needs and interests and act accordingly to improve their ties. Due to the sanctions regime, Iran was under severe pressure for a long time and now it is in the process of integrating back into the international community.
Turkey should and could help the Iranians with this integration process, by sharing joint economic and cultural projects. It would be a mutual benefit for their economies since geographically they share a border as Iran links Turkey to Asia and Turkey acts as a transit way to Europe for Iran.
The role of Iran and Turkey on the Syrian civil war
Even though Turkey and Iran’s stance on the Syrian war vary, they should try and form an alliance against the shedding of fraternal blood in the region. As both are powerful actors in the region, they should take responsibility to bring stability and security to the region. It is not wise to highlight differences and disagreements in the relationship. The wisest thing to do is to determine their commonalities and build some projects around it. It is noteworthy to mention that there are a considerable amount of Turks when we examine the demographic makeup of Iran: Azerbaijani Turks, Turkmens, Kashgars, Avshars. Coming to a mutual agreement in terms of protecting the unitary structure of Syria and preventing external actors to decide on the region, was an important development.
Considering the mutual potentials to enhance economic relations
Since both countries are powerful actors most analysts think the lifting of sanctions and the integration of Iran into the international community disturbed Turkey. However, the reality is completely the opposite. Mr. Davutoglu confirmed this by saying that both nations complement one another in terms of economics and he said that Turkey was the one who is pleased the most from the lifting of the sanctions. Turkey has been on the side of Iran during its most difficult days and it has worked hard for sanctions to be lifted and it is going to remain that way as well in the future. Political differences have never made these two nations fall apart even if we look at their common history. They have been sustaining peace for four hundred years despite political disagreements and conflicts of interests. Knowing that they have very crucial geopolitical positions and need one another for the stability and security for the region, they must act together and share responsibility.
Being honest is the best way to form an alliance
My Iranian brothers are radiant Muslims and I love them dearly. I love them for their love of Allah, their love of the Prophet Muhammad (S), their love of Hazrat Ali (AS), their love of Ahl al-Bait, their love of Hazrat Mahdi (AS) and their love of the twelve imams. I am proud of their existence in the region and I pray they will dwell here till the Day of Judgment.
Regrettably, I have to say that there has been much unwanted rage against my dear Shia brothers in the Sunni world for a long time in the region. Even though some deny it or endorse such anger surreptitiously, it would cause a great tribulation in the Islamic world. It would be a great crime to harbor any negative feelings and act against my devout Shia brothers.
What matters the most is honesty. We have to be honest in our relations and feelings. The same mentality applies to politics. The party who shows such a beautiful and mature character would be very grand in terms of Qur’anic morality. If politicians embrace our Shia brothers with love and compassion without hesitation, the problems would be solved straightaway.
If both parties insist on making demands from each other, let’s say with 50% in favor of their national interests, the two sides would cancel each other out and no progress would be achieved. But if they approach with zero assertion of rights against the other, then a mutual understanding and reconciliation would occur. Whoever approaches others with solidarity and on the side of compromise is on the right path and is the winner. But if the parties insist on being the one to design the region, then unending conflicts would go on.
To build an alliance between Iran and Turkey on a solid ground would be possible when the approach is honest and the politicians sincerely practice what they preach.