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Turkey’s spy bust escalates rivalry with Iran

Iran and Turkey are increasingly rivals in the Caucasus and in Iraq.
A Turkish Special Forces Police officer is seen standing watch during a press tour at a border outpost.
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The reported capture of Iranian spies in Turkey comes as the latest sign of the rivalry heating up between Ankara and Tehran, as bilateral tensions over Iraq and Syria have been steadily expanding to the Caucasus since last year’s war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. 

Turkey extended strong military support to Azerbaijan, its close ally and ethnic cousin, to help it prevail over Armenia in the six-week war over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, pursuing a strategic vision that has irked Iran. The conflict ended in November, with Azerbaijan regaining control of several regions under Armenian occupation since the early 1990s. The new reality on the ground has fueled rows over regional transport links, underlain by broader geopolitical interests and growing Iranian concerns over Azerbaijan’s ties with Turkey and Israel.

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