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The Legacy Of Ottoman Empire And Turkey Politics Essay

Info: 5492 words (22 pages) Essay
Published: 1st Jan 2015 in Politics

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The study aims to summarize and analyze the recent developments in the Middle East particularly after the Arab spring process in terms of the Turkish foreign policy and its roots dated back to Ottoman Empire. Beginning the legacy of Ottoman Empire, the study also attempts to highlight main milestones for the current Turkish Foreign policy under the light of 20th century international system and its changing atmosphere such as cold war situations and later period in this region.

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Emphasizing the state formation period of Turkish Republic, it should be mentioned that secularist formation and westernization of new state created new mentality as a nation based and defensive and mostly introvert nation due to strengthen the structure of state and nation building target after the demolition of World War I. At the same period, The Middle East faced lots of transformation and rooted changes it has never seen before such as mandate system, independence of new states, oil based strategies of western states, establishment of Israel, World War II and redistribution of power among the global powers as well as regional ones.

This study also prioritizes the main principles and characteristics of Turkish foreign policy towards the Middle Eastern States during the cold war and later on. In doing so, secularist structure, idealist and peaceful approaches, transformative and pragmatic aspects of Turkish foreign policy are examined in the light of main alliances and treaties in the Middle East. Particularly, relations with USA, European States, Israel and Iran were mentioned in order to demonstrate big picture including the reaction of Arab States to Turkey for long time.

Iran revolution became a new checkpoint for durability and endurance of Turkish secular system with the regime exporting concern by Iran during the 1980 s and 1990s. During 1990s, focusing on terrorist attacks, Turkey established strong military connections with Israel which increased the concern of Arab States on Turkey and historical prejudices were revitalized in the Middle Eastern States. After the AKP came into power in Turkey, gradually relations with Iran and Arab States growth both economically and politically.

Arab spring became a new turning point partially in terms of foreign policy of Turkey. While Turkey was exerting new initiatives in the Middle East, at the same some concerns on new interventionism and neo-Ottomanism were propagated among the Arab States. Concurrently, while recent developments give advantages to Turkey, some visible and long term invisible disadvantages also occurred. Among these disadvantages, increasing terrorist attacks, tension between Iran and Turkey on Syrian conflict, political intervention and new prejudices of Arab States on Turkey’s foreign policy and also its proactive approach for Palestine. This study finally gives short suggestion as alternative Turkish foreign policy using soft power more than military and political pressure in the region which has more influential than others.

THE LEGACY OF OTTOMAN EMPIRE AND TURKEY

By the end of the 18th century, great scientific and technological developments had been increased in western world. Ottoman Empire could no longer compete against the increasing European powers. As a military power, after Russian invasion to the Crimea which was the part of Ottoman Empire, Russia started to dominate the northern territories of the Ottomans, particularly black sea regions (Ucuzsatar, 2002). Additionally, Napolean’s invasion of Egypt in 1798 and British invasion of Egypt in 1882, increasing of Russian influence in Balkans due to nationalist slavish movements at the beginning of the 18th century, Ottoman Empire lost great part of territories in mentioned parts irreversibly (Quataert, 2000). After the long imperial background based on pax-ottoman in most cases, with the eruption of World War I Ottoman territories became a playground of European Powers for regulating the international system and particularly the Middle East. However, for this region, treaties, double promises and strategies formulated by colonial powers could not bring temporary and stable system; moreover it created endless conflict potentials and seeds of enemy like ‘a peace to end all peace’ (Fromkin, 1989).

Although establishing a modern, western, secular and nation based state, new Turkish Republic, mostly Turkish citizens could not ignore the Ottoman reality and its long history. Understanding contemporary Turkish politics and foreign policy particularly toward the Middle East is one of the strong arguments for analyzing recent development in this region due to its historical background and legacy of Ottoman Empire. As an emerging regional power, that exemplifies a synthesis between a Muslim-majority population in the Middle East and a functioning democratic ally of the West, by the new millennia the proactive foreign policy of Turkey has been on the rise. Understanding the recent development, in many academic researches, the focus of attention typically shifts from the present to the past. As the heart of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey claims the mantle for the imperial rule inherited from the former Roman and Byzantine Empires that made the Ottomans the center of Eastern and Western world interactions for over six hundred years (Walker, 2009). As a result, there is a growing interest in the Ottoman legacy for modern Turkish foreign policy in the Middle East as well as in Balkans and Caucasus. Addressing the empire history of great powers, Russia, Britain, France, Germany, China, Turkey, and Japan are all direct descendants and successor states of their former empires. In the same way that not all nations share the same power capabilities, ideology, or history, these post-imperial nations inherited a different type of legacy (Walker, 2009). The legacy that these former empires have bequeathed to their respective successor states vary on a number of important areas ranging from collective memories, institutions, ethnicities, boundaries, and historical disputes. Therefore, the way in which these states deal with and interpret their imperial legacies varies widely and is an important yet under theorized and understudied field in international relations.

In order to solve puzzle properly, nation’s traditions, values, attitudes, patterns of behavior, habits, customs, achievement and particular ways of adapting to the environment and solving problems with respect to the threat or use of force should be underlined for evaluating the imperial legacy. Collective memory is also vital point in this regard. Having been the heart of the Ottoman Empire, the Turks look back on their history with a mixed sense of pride and ambivalence (Walker, 2009). Collective memory is central to the concept of imperial legacy. It is, after all, the intense memory of the transformative historical empire that informs national beliefs and ensures the continuation of the legacy. While Turks view Ottoman “history” versus what Arabs call the “Ottoman yoke,” the same facts may be interpreted by two parties in distinctly different manners. Collective memory is also naturally subjective and constructed during centuries. As a result, a legacy is drawn from “the ‘stock of stories’ that exist in socio-cultural context” and its function is to provide a “usable past” (Walker, 2009). The imperial reputation of the Ottoman Empire and the historical memory of modern Turkey have been always considered and prioritized on the back of Turks’ mind. In order to comprehend the history of 20th century in the Middle East and recent developments, Ottoman rule based on millet system, foreign policy of Turkey as successor state, Turkey’s desire toward Middle East as Ottoman legacy and unnaturally formulated borders based on western strategies rather than regional realities should be analyzed accurately.

Foundation of Turkish Republic and Developments in the Middle East

According to the most historians, the history of modern Turkey can be divided into two phases, which are independence period from 1918 to 1923 and the era of reformist and modernization of the Turkish Republic. During the first era, as a downfall of Ottoman Empire and escalation of European powers and Russian invasion of Anatolia, in the more than 10 fronts from Balkans to North Africa, from Iraq to Caucasus and Hedjaz, Ottoman armies were within the wars against Arabs, local tribes, British, French, Italian, Russian and moreover Australian and Indian troops. At the end of these wars, Ottoman frontlines withdrew to Anatolian border which is called later as “misak-i milli” describing mostly nation state borders which is almost similar with today’s borders. In eastern part of Anatolia, Turco-Russian treaty named “The treaty of Moscow” and then Kars Treaty finalized eastern border problem with Russia in 1921. After the withdrawal of British and French forces from Istanbul in 1922 in the light of related resolutions of Sevres Treaty, Greece forces occupied temporarily the western part of Anatolia (Ucuzsatar, 2002). This occupation triggered the independence struggle for war of Turks as a mass defense throughout the Anatolia. In 1921 Sakarya battle which was the great defeat of Greece initiated the talks with the other imperial European powers and it was ended with Ankara Treaty. During first period of foundation, with the painful background about lost territories in the Middle East, Balkans and Caucasus, Turks defended only Anatolian land by aiming at fully independence in their Turkish heartland instead of defending large Ottoman territories due to the weakened military capacity and concluded confrontations with Greece and European powers with the Lausanne Agreement in 1923 prior to declaration of the foundation of new Turkish Republic.

In second part of foundation, briefly, Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Ataturk), founder of new secular, modern, western and nation state, launched several political, cultural, educational, social and economic revolutions internally while he was formulating a new foreign policy based on principle “peace at home, peace in the world” (Ucuzsatar, 2002). This national security policy was based on territorial integrity and full sovereignty and the modernization of Turkish society after Ottoman traditional and religious social structure. All these revolutionary efforts in a nation coming from Ottoman history were not easily adaptable at that time. Beyond the internal transformative effects, these changes created a new mentality and new foreign policy strategies which prioritize the western alliance and cultures. Among the revolutionary strategies of Ataturk, abolishing of Caliphate in 1934, changing education system, new Latin alphabet as parts of secular state and society were the giant diversifications from Middle Eastern communities.

In transforming of region, during the independence period of Turkey, several tremendous changes in the Middle East, never seen in history, occurred in terms of emerging new states, drawing unnatural borders, creating new conflicts among states, increasing the influence of oil based strategies and mandate system which dominated the first half of century in the region.

With regard to the foreign policy of Turkey and its new allies at first decades of Republic, Turkish foreign policy between the two world wars was formulated by Ataturk’s vision and his personality. That is why most writers called this period ‘The Turkey of Ataturk.’ (Gol, 1992) According to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey’s foreign policy objectives were based on sovereign entity, and full benefits of peace which might be called non-irredentist approach with the exception of the Montreux Convention, Mosul province and the Hatay Issue. According to Turkey, Mosul was within the National Pact boundaries. On the other hand the Treaty of Lausanne left the undetermined frontier with Iraq to be settled directly with Britain as trustee for Iraq. Talks started in May 1924, but reached no definite conclusion. The Treaty of Lausanne envisaged that if the parties failed to find a solution within nine months, the issue would be referred to the League of Nations. By 6 August 1924 Britain had decided to make a unilateral application to the League of Nations and had the item ‘Iraqi Frontier’ put on the agenda of the Council of the League. Finally, the Council decided that the Brussels Line become the permanent border, thereby awarding Mosul to Iraq in December 1925 (Gol, 1992). Despite the reactions in Turkey, the government decided to abide this decision. Beyond the bilateral relations and some agreements and diplomatic visits with neighboring countries, in 1937 Turkey participated to the Saadabad Pact with Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. It was Turkey’s attempt to be a bridge between Asia and Europe.

Having witnessed that the abolishing of the caliphate and the secularization of the state caused bitterness in Arab countries, Ataturk’s westernization policies indirectly separated Arabs and Turks. The treaty of brotherhood between Turkey and Afghanistan was signed during the independence war of Turkey. Moreover, Turkey started to lead an Eastern Pact and signed two agreements with Iran and Iraq. In addition to the pact of friendship with Iran, the visit of Shah Pehlavi served to open a new era in Turca- Iranian relations. Turkey and Iraq solved the border problem with the Mosul Agreement. The Saadabad Pact was not a military alliance, but a pact of friendship and solidarity. The pact called for non-aggression, consultation among the signatory states in case of a threat (Gol, 1992). As a regional treaty, it was a seed of cooperative approach, but prior to the World War II, it could not be active and behind the expected level as a multinational organization.

Although Ataturk transformed Turkey in the 1920s and 1930s from Ottoman Empire to secular republic led Turkey toward West culturally, economically and politically, its population never left its religious beliefs, traditional values and heritage. After the death of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1938, the Turks showed a marked determination to preserve their Islamic identity and develop good relations with neighboring Muslim nations. In reality, unfortunately the Arabs could not forget the harsh oppression of the nascent Arab national movements, and Turks did not readily forget how Arabs had betrayed them during World War I. Actually the relations between Arab Countries and Turkey did not become as expected level due to Turkish Foreign policy priorities and the independence period of Arab countries except Iraq during 1930s and 1940s. After WWII, no close relationship developed with Arab Countries for long time II due to Turkey’s whole engagement with West such as Truman Doctrine with USA in 1947 and joining NATO.

After the WW II, in most Arab Countries nationalist blocs were launched and led by Egypt and Syria which was based on supporting the Soviet position in the international arena and opposing Turkey’s regional policies. Another important development was also Turkey’s recognition to Israel which affected Arab countries’ foreign policies remarkably against Turkey. Even though not a common known, independence struggle of Algeria against France was also milestone that Turkey did not show willingness as expected level for recognizing the independence of Algeria and not directly supported this independency due to its western relations. Under the cold war situation and transformation of Arab countries, Turkish foreign policy was based on its interest with western allies during 1960s and 1970s. Even though some positive developments internally occurred in terms of religious rights and emotional contacts with Arab communities, several military coups prevented these kinds of growing relations with region. In 1980s, Turkey’s relationship with the Muslim oil producing countries was a complete transformation in the balance of power that prevailed during the 1970s. Oil import strategies basically affected Turkey’s relations with Iraq, Iran and Libya. Moreover, in Turkish public arena, Arab-Israel wars and Palestine drama, invasion of Afghanistan increased public sensibility as Muslim community. Turkey was also deeply affected by Iran revolution in terms of secular regime structure and western relations.

Both developing relations with Israel and terrorist actions hosted by Iraq and Syria were dominant points on Turkey’s foreign relations with Arab Countries while economic relations was going on certain level. Turkey’s exertions on the membership for European Union also showed its willingness toward westernization and controlled and balanced relations with neighboring countries, particularly against Iran in internal politics. During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s cold war situations and internally several coups with the support of western countries in Turkey played key role on foreign policy formulation.

Dilemma of Turkey : Turkish Secularism and its image in Arab States

The Arabs were one of the important nations during the Ottoman Empire. Although there has been close cultural and religious common sense between Turks and Arabs, the conflicts during the last period of Ottoman Empire fed the distance between Turks and Arabs till 2000s. During the independence period of Arab Countries and cold war period, both Turkey and Arab States have not been in common strategic allies and close relations. Despite the reactions of Arab states, Turkey was one of the states which recognized Israel initially. During the cold war Turkey preferred to develop its relations with western countries dominantly, and Turkey could not strengthen its relation with Middle Eastern Countries particularly with Egypt and Syria. Ironically, when Turkey faced serious problems with Israel such as in 1956 and after 1967 and 1973 wars, its relations with Arab Countries increased remarkably. In this period Turkey several times associated with Arab States against Israel in UN resolutions and OIC appeals which included common reactions and some sanctions against Israel (Armaoglu, 1995).

It should be also mentioned that water sharing problem between Syria, Turkey and Iraq triggered the problems which was based on sharing of Euphrates water. In this issue, Syria with the support of Arab League started to support and host terrorist groups within the Syria and Bekaa Valley in Lebanon which weakened the relations with Syria and Iraq.

Beyond the political and economic setbacks among regional states, there are several effects and understandings which feed prejudice and blames reciprocally between Turkey and Arab States. First of all, even though during the Ottoman Empire there were no crucial problems, in declining period, perceptions among the Arab nations against Turkey have been changed by nationalist approaches, movements, policies of colonial western states, priorities and new foreign policy formulation of new Turkish Republic. Secondly, the structure of western style state, abolishing Caliphate and Arab alphabet and also secularist state formation in Turkey increased the confused feelings of Arab nations against Turkey. Thirdly, the assumption about Ottoman period as “Ottoman yoke” in Arab region which was imposed by western mandatory states is also influential dimension in relations between Turkey and Arab States during the 20th century (Gol, 1992). The negative attitude of Turkey sometimes during the independence period of Arab States fostered the feelings against Turkey. Last but not least, Turkey’s close relation with Israel was one of the important arguments of Arab reaction towards Turkey. Additionally, Turkey’s formally unwillingness on development of relations with Arab States also played partially role due to its regime protection reflex until 2000.

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Dramatically, this picture changed with the changing the generation structure and increasing the Islamic values in Turkey and also with transformation in Arab States recently. The improvement of the Turkish image in the Arab world over the past decade is due to a number of reasons. The rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2002 changed the anti-Islamic secularism gradually in terms of politically and socially. Importantly, “zero-problems” and “win-win strategy” in regional foreign policy opened up Turkey to the Arab and Muslim world. The democratic structure of Turkey and its growing economic model and export-led growth in a region dazzled the rentier economies based on one export good. Moreover, the success of the Turkish balance between religion, secularism and public freedoms in a region was attracted by regional states. Growing familiarity with Turkish culture and society through its popular television programs, documentaries, movies and TV series also played significant role on image transformation (TESEV, 2012).

Politically, Turkey’s strong stand against American use of its territory and bases in the 2003 for invasion of Iraq, Prime Minister Erdogan’s unexpected reactions to Israel during the Gaza war of December-January 2008-2009 and Turkey’s stand against Israel after the Gaza Flotilla incident in May of 2010 increased positive feelings of Arab nations. Most recently, with the increasing its positive image among the Arab States, this picture not only offers Turkey great opportunity, but also calls tremendous challenges in this Pandora box for coming period. In this vein, as a direct effect on Turkish-Arab relations, Turkish-Israeli relations should be examined for proper consideration of regional development (Onis, 2012).

Turkey- Israel Relations and the Reactions from Muslim States in the Middle East

Having thought the historical background during Ottoman Empire, good relations between the Jews and the Turks have played a remarkable role in development of Turkey-Israel relations in 20th century. Israel’s location in the heart of a hostile Arab world triggered itself to create new allies to escape isolation by establishing relations with some states in the Middle East. Of all these countries, Turkey and Iran had more in common with Israel than others. As a historical dimension, Ottoman rulers and Turkey’s attitude toward the Jews helped smooth the way to normal relations between the two countries. Turkey had been among the first states to recognize the establishment of Israel on May 14th 1948 (Abadi, 1995). However Arabs did not accept Turkish foreign policy and demonstrated their disappointment on this issue. In 1951, for example Turkey agreed with the West in protesting Egypt’s decision which inhibits Israeli ships passage through the Suez Canal. This caused a serious crisis in Turkey-Egypt relations. However, these developments have occurred several times because of Israel’s aggressive attitudes. Although Turkey developed its relations with Israel, it incorporated Iraq into the Baghdad Pact in terms of anti-Israeli resolutions and measures. Consequently, its policy toward Israel became more confused and it has been difficult to understand at first look. With regard to the Suez crisis, Israel, in collaboration with England and France, started to occupy the Sinai Peninsula. Upon this, based on the Baghdad Pact decisions, Turkey lowered its level of diplomatic representation. Similarly, Israeli declaring Jerusalem as the country’s eternal capital caused a new crisis for Turkey-Israel relations.

On the other hand, during 1950s and 1960s, clearly Turkey-Israeli relations were determined more pragmatic approach rather by ideological. Having said Israel’s desire to escape isolation in the region, relations between Israel and Turkey expanded to include non-security matters and for example Turkey initiated to share agricultural expertise from Israel (Cetinsaya, 2005).

In Turkey-Israel relations, 1967 War and the provocation on burning Al Aqsa Mosque in 1969, which is one of the most holy places of Islam, caused to establishment of Organization of Islamic Conference that have been milestone to withdraw diplomatic relations to the low level and serious condemnation towards Israel. In this period, there was a growing threat for Turkey which was the new regime in Syria and its foreign policy arguments against Turkey within the cold war situations. Therefore, Turkey’s policy toward Israel was determined not only by fear of pan-Arabism and Nasser’s ambition, but also by Syria’s aggressive behavior. During 1970s and 1980s Syria gave important facilities such as shelter and encouragement to terrorist groups of Kurds and to political movements, such as the Armenian Marxist terrorist organization ASALA. This Syrian policy identified the relations between two countries during last three decades. In the early 1990s the audience of the diplomatic arena changed and Israel gained new dynamism in international relations. Asia’s most populated countries, such as India and China, established diplomatic relations with Israel, and others followed these actions. At last, in December 1991, the political climate seemed appropriate and the Turkish government decided to re-establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. 1990s was the honeymoon for Turkey-Israel relations that several important and close relations has been founded such as military defense agreement, transportation of the Manavgat Spring water to Israel, know-how sharing on military technologies, agricultural trade on different kinds of seeds. The more Syrian threats emerged towards Turkey, the stronger ties between Turkey and Israel was established. Thus, the amount of Israeli tourist rapidly increased in Turkey (Bengio, 2005).

On the other hand, Turkey’s economic needs dictated reliance on the Arab markets, especially for oil. In addition, Turkey needed more commercial relations with Arab states. In the political sphere Turkey sought to obtain Arab support during the Cyprus crisis. Increasing the relations with Israel, Turkey faced to loss of support from the numerous Muslim members in the UN. In the context of Arab public opinion on Turkey, feelings have been always fluctuated in accordance with political development, alliances, military agreements and Palestine issue. (Nachmani, 2005)

Beyond the recent development at the end of 1990s, Turkey-Israel relations lost impetus in the 2000s as a consequence of the change of government in Israel. With the Ariel Sharon administration coming to power, violence towards the Palestinian people increased. Following the Al-Aqsa intifada and Israel’s proliferating operations on the Palestinian occupied lands, in April 2002, widespread protests against Israel took place in many provinces throughout Turkey. Turkey accused Israel of carrying out genocide, thereby worsening bilateral relations. On the contrary to common knowledge, Turkey-Israel relations have not worsened till 2009 even though there were several important developments occurred in that period. More obviously, with the AKP (Justice and Development Party) administration coming to power in Turkey in November 2002, mutual economic and political relations have been maintained. After the Iraqi war, officially and non-officially, various news sources stated that there was Israeli presence in northern Iraq and the (Israeli secret service) Mossad agents were training Kurdish Peshmargas which meant the direct support the separation of Iraq and terrorist PKK groups. This has resulted in mistrust towards Israel in bilateral relations. At the same time, in addition to the development in relations with Arab States particularly with Syria after Hafez Al-Assad, Turkey’s facilitative role in Turkey-Syria relations started to improve again as of March 2007. This time, Turkey led the Syria-Israel negotiations and the hopes of settling dispute between these countries have risen (TESEV, 2012).

Last but not least, the breakpoint in Turkey-Israel relations has been erupted with namely Marmara flotilla issue that aimed to humanitarian assistance to the Gaza strip, unfortunately 9 Turks were killed by Israeli army. Although Turkey declared its conditions against this military intervention, the current Israeli government declined Turkey’s demands which were suggested for the improvement of the bilateral relations. This rejection by Israel shows that the political relations between the two countries will continue at low-level. In recent period, mostly Turkey-Israel relations are going under the shadow of Palestinian conflict. Even though some politicians use this foreign policy leverage for increasing domestic credibility in Turkey, as long as Turkey continues to support Palestine and condemn Israel for its attacks, virtually credible image of Turkey may go on.

Turkey- Iran Relations After Islamic Revolution in Iran

Iran and Turkey are two regional powers and main regional actors which have played significant role during history and they founded two empires and civilizations. Foreign policies and strategies of these two states always designate the developments in the Middle East. Describing the recent and current situation in the Middle East, especially, after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Turkey and Iran relations gained importance in terms of their influences in the region. With the end of the Shah’s regime, Iran’s foreign policy took a significant turn. This shift in Iran has redefined its relations with Turkey. In addition to the Sunni-Shia sectarian issue and historical contingences between Turkey and Iran which was deemed particularly, foreign-policy orientation of the two countries also diverged completely. While Iran has maintained contentious policies toward America and even Europe, Turkey continued to be part of the Western alliance, NATO and Europe. The revolution led America to redefine its alliances in the region and maintain even closer relations with Turkey.

During the Iran-Iraq War, as first decade of Turkish-Iranian relations after the revolution, Turkey and Iran have had willingness to cooperate in trade and economic relations. In this period, the volume of trade between the two countries exceeded $2 billion, consisting mainly of oil sales by Iran in return for Turkish goods and technical assistance.  During the Iran-Iraq War, Turkey tried to maintain neutrality and improved its economic relations with both neighbors, especially with Iran (Armaoglu, 1995). Generally, Turkey’s neutrality was welcomed in both Iran and the Arab world. However, when Turkey attempted to mediate the conflict, it did not succeed. Despite developments in trade relations, problems arose between Ankara and Tehran in the mid-1980s over PKK terrorism in Turkey and Iran’s efforts to spread the Islamic Revolution in the region (Sander, 1990).

After the first half of the 1980s, Turkish-Iranian relations mostly focused on problems related to ideological differences. Iran repeatedly protested the secularist policies in Turkey which was understood as an intervention and regime exportation to Turkey. The United States also reacted to the Islamic Revolution by improving its relations with Turkey. As Iranian-U.S. relations worsened, Turkey appeared to be the most important ally of NATO and the United States in the region. Significant developments toward the end of the 1980s changed the regional dynamics as well as the course of Iran-Turkey relations. In 1988, after eight years of fighting, the Iraq-Iran War ended. Moreover, the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the USSR were the most important systemic changes affecting Turkey-Iran relations (Armaoglu, 1995). In addition to the challenges caused by the Islamic Revolution, the constants of Turkey-Iran relations, in the form of cultural, political and ideological rivalries, rose to the surface. Turkey and Iran found themselves in competition for their influence over Central Asia and the South Caucasus. During the Azeri-Armenia war in Nagorno Karabag, Iran and Turkey positioned in different sides, while Iran was supporting Armenia, Turkey supported Azerbaijan’s claims. Additionally, Central Asian newly emerging States became playground and political challenge scene invisibly between Turkey and Iran as well as the Saudi Wahhabism and Western ideologies.

The first Gulf War in 1990-91 also changed the dynamics in the region. Iran and Turkey approac

 

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