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Turkey, Iran Struggle To Keep Up Appearances

Ankara and Tehran ties are strained over Syria and Hezbollah.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi (L) looks past his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu (2nd R) during the opening of a ministerial meeting in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah, by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on May 13, 2013. The OIC urged its member states to make generous contributions at this week's main donors conference on Mali to be held in Brussels, which aims to raise funds to repair the damage caused by the war against Islamists in the African country. AFP PHOTO/STR

The pretense of good ties Ankara and Tehran have been trying to maintain despite the deepening of the Syrian crisis — in which the two countries are supporting opposite sides — has started to shatter. Iran is also expressing dissatisfaction over Turkey’s peace process with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which involves militants from the group moving out of Turkey into northern Iraq. While Turkey’s ties with Tehran become more confrontational, Ankara’s new regional enemy is turning out to be the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah.

Talking to the state-run Turkish TRT channel on May 12, Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu accused Iran of providing space for “the killer,” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to act. He went on to declare that he had cautioned his Iran counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, over the telephone recently that Tehran should opt for a deterrent approach toward Assad.

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