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Turkey-Iran Ties Strained By Iraq, Syria

Tehran and Ankara are struggling to keep up appearances as differences over Iraq and Syria begin to take a toll on their bilateral relationship, writes Semih Idiz.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi (L) attend a news conference in Ankara January 19, 2012. Iran's foreign minister warned Arab neighbours on Thursday not to put themselves in a "dangerous position" by aligning themselves too closely with the United States in the escalating dispute over Tehran's nuclear activity. Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, used for a third of the world's seaborne oil trade, if pending Western moves to ban Iranian cr

Ask diplomats from both countries and they will say Turkish-Iranian relations rest on a solid foundation, despite occasional turbulence and attempts by “nefarious western countries” to spoil them. But the situation is not that rosy with Ankara and Tehran increasingly competing for influence in the Middle East, rather than cooperating to stabilize the region.

Take Syria, for example, a topic that both countries diverge on radically. Tehran continues to support President Bashar al Assad as a matter of vital importance for its regional interests. Ankara, on the other hand, continues to support Syrian groups fighting to depose Assad and overturn his regime.

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