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Rouhani Offers Chance for Turkey, Too

Better relations with Iran could relieve some of the pressure on Ankara caused by the Syrian war.
(L-R) Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party Leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Chief of Staff General Necdet Ozel, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Chairman of the Parliament Cemil Cicek pray as they attend an official farewell ceremony for fallen Turkish pilots, Captain Gokhan Ertan and Lieutenant Hasan Huseyin, at the 7th Jet Main Air Base in the eastern Turkish city of Malatya July 6, 2012. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and top military officials attend the funeral of the two pilots of the
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In their common history, Turkey and Iran have often tested each other’s power and patience, but whenever relations came to the brink of real conflict, they always found a way to de-escalate. Recent developments have revived their deeply rooted mutual distrust.

The black cat is, of course, Syria. But now both countries are looking to lean on each other. Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani seeks a moderate Iranian diplomacy around the concept of “heroic flexibility,” a reference to Imam Hasan’s legacy of peace. Aiming to reduce tensions with the West, Rouhani’s approach offers an equally good opportunity for a new beginning with Turkey, and statements by both sides signal willingness to grasp it. The rhetoric that “Turkey’s regional influence will diminish if the United States and its European allies move closer to Iran” is now obsolete and no longer affordable.

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