Skip to main content

Turkey, Iran at war over trucking

A 1994 transportation accord has fueled Turkish-Iranian rivalry for economic and political influence in Central Asia.
Hundreds of trucks bringing in diesel from Iran line up on a road as they head to the eastern province of Van in Turkey November 30, 2005. In the shadows of mountains bordering Iraq and Iran, Turkey's Hakkari province may one day be an outpost of the European Union. But for now, it feels cut off from the world. Picture taken November 30, 2005. To match feature Turkey-Southeast REUTERS/Fatih Saribas - RTR1AGOX

A trucking war has escalated between Turkey and Iran amid mutual retaliation and the latest round of talks in Tehran failing to produce a compromise. The two neighbors’ commercial rivalry, particularly for the Central Asian market, has further intensified with the trucking crisis. Thousands of Turkish trucks have been stranded on Turkey's side of the Gurbulak border crossing, waiting to enter Iran. Similarly, Turkish trucks returning home have formed long lines at Iran’s border crossing with Turkmenistan.

The truck transportation crisis began last year when Turkey made it clear it would no longer pay transit fees and a fee for the fuel price difference charged by Iran. Turkish exporters and transporters shipping goods to Central Asian countries prefer the Iranian route, because it is the shortest. Turkish trucking companies, however, are disadvantaged vis-a-vis their Iranian counterparts because of special charges and high tariffs that Iran levies only on Turkish trucks.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.