That Turkey and Iran are engaged in a heated rivalry for influence in every corner of the Middle East is obvious. This has been going on for centuries, starting in ancient Persia and the geopolitical heartland of ancient Greece, today’s Turkish Aegean region.
To this geopolitical struggle was added a new dimension of rivalry between a Sunni and a Shiite power centers, induced by 15th-century Ottoman-Safavid wrangling. The irony was that this new rivalry was between two Turkish dynasties. In terms of ethnicity, the Safavids who ruled Iran could well be considered more Turk than the Ottoman dynasties, who, for political alliances, married into Christian monarchies and Byzantine remants.