Iran and Turkey are talking for now, but their agendas will soon collide EPA-EFE/ERDEM SAHIN
Middle East

ANALYSIS: Iran and Turkey are Half-a-Step From War

Ankara and Tehran both have grand plans for the Middle East that are increasingly at odds with one another

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The situation in Iraq and Syria has become a stress test for relations between Turkey and Iran. Ankara’s recent military operations against Kurdish elements in Iraq have rankled Tehran. Nor have hard-line statements on Syria by Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif helped to calm the situation. Despite the fact that in recent years experts have spoken of a close tactical partnership between the two countries, it is clear that their paths are starting to diverge.

Iraq finds itself caught in the middle, and politicians in Baghdad have expressed frustration with cross-border Turkish raids, while seemingly aligning themselves with the Islamic Republic.

Now a fresh dispute is brewing after Iranian officials accused Turkey of undermining Iraqi sovereignty. Iranian Ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi, confirmed that his country categorically opposes all Turkish intervention on Iraqi soil, and demanded that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan respect international borders.

“We fundamentally refuse to accept – whether it is Turkey or any other country – military intervention or a foreign military presence in Iraq,” said Masjedi.

Turkey responded by summoning the Iranian ambassador in Ankara,...

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