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Israel's Gaza war opens room for Turkey-Iran rapprochement

Turkey’s Gaza diplomacy has failed to bear fruit thus far, but it has clearly led to a rapprochement between Ankara and Tehran.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan.
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Turkey's efforts on a cease-fire in Gaza and the release of hostages held by Hamas are continuing, though so far without results. Its Gaza diplomacy has, however, invigorated Ankara's ties with Iran.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pleased Tehran by refusing to label Hamas a “terrorist” organization, and instead calling it a “mujahideen liberation group.” He intends to play a leading role at Sunday’s summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) together with his Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi. 

Turkey and Iran also appear willing to see if their convergence on Gaza can help resolve thorny bilateral files. Raisi is expected to visit Turkey later this month, following on the heels of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who traveled to Ankara for talks in early November.

Similar rapprochements between the two previously took place after Erdogan’s outburst at Israeli President Shimon Peres in Davos in 2009 and after the collapse of Turkish-Israeli ties following Israel's deadly raid on a flotilla carrying pro-Palestinian activists toward Gaza in 2010. Such temporary closeness hardly eliminates the incompatibilities of Turkey and Iran's policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or resolve the fundamental discord in their bilateral ties.

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