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Turkey plays both sides in Iran, Saudi conflict

Does Turkey courting Iran and Saudi Arabia simultaneously mean Ankara is moving away from Sunni-based policies?

Ankara is developing a dual-track approach to the Middle East by simultaneously courting bitter rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran to shore up its position in a region that has defied its plans and ambitions to date. Foreign policy experts say this new approach, which they consider to be a “work in progress,” has the potential to make Turkey an influential regional player again if it is allowed to mature.

This new approach has already resulted in a spate of high-level recent visits between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and Turkey and Iran. Turkey remains unhappy, of course, about Tehran’s support for the Bashar al-Assad regime, while Iran is unhappy about Ankara’s support to anti-Assad groups in Syria.

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