№035: Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan: Heading Towards a Regional Crisis? Cover Image

№035: Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan: Heading Towards a Regional Crisis?
№035: Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan: Heading Towards a Regional Crisis?

Author(s): Konrad Zasztowt
Subject(s): International relations/trade, Security and defense, Military policy, Developing nations, Geopolitics
Published by: Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych
Keywords: Azerbaijan; Iran; Turkey; Asia; Central Asia; Eurasia; Middle East; Middle East and North Africa
Summary/Abstract: The Middle Eastern map of political alliances, affiliations and animosities is being constantly redrawn, but certain elements endure. The revolutionary turmoil in the region, now on full display in Syria, together with mounting tensions over issues such as Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability, are the most pertinent issues that are bringing to the fore the deep, structural differences inherent in the Turkish-Iranian-Azerbaijani triangle. After what seemed as a period of growing Turkish-Iranian affinity in the past decade, the relations between Ankara and Tehran are on a downward trajectory. Turkey found it impossible to continue with the policy of „zero problems with neighbours” in the light of the events in Syria—it sided with the Sunni opposition, thus antagonizing not only the regime in Damascus, but also its most valued ally, Iran. In addition, Turkey seems to have re-calibrated its position on Iran’s nuclear ambitions, using it to signal the lack of support for Tehrans anti-Western policies. In case of Azerbaijan, religious affinity with Iran seems to count less than the underlying geopolitical choices. On top of that, a secular Azerbaijan finds itself in a sharp ideological conflict with a teocratic Iran, and is deeply concerned with Iran’s anti-Israeli rhetorics and actions. Whether a regional crisis will unfold is largely dependent on the ability of all three countries to forestall the escalation of the existing problems into much graver feuds.

  • Page Count: 9
  • Publication Year: 2012
  • Language: English