By Mohammad Mazhari 

Tehran, Ankara can form strong bloc against imperialism: Turkish expert 

December 30, 2020 - 18:37

TEHRAN - Kadir Ertach Celik, a Turkish academic, believes that Iran and Turkey can form “a strong bloc against imperialism” in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and especially in West Asia (Middle East).

Pointing to the significance of “strategic cooperation” between Iran and Turkey as two great neighbors, the analyst predicts the “rise of regional powers” which is also “one of the most important conditions for Middle East peace.”

“If this union happens, both wings of the Islamic world will come together. Thus, the rise of the Islamic world begins,” Celik argues.

The following is the text of the interview: 

Q: How do you assess the new American sanctions' impact on Turkey and the region?

A: U.S. sanctions against certain countries should be understood in American foreign policy as a broad approach. 

Sanctions are important leverages and parameters in targeting countries in terms of political and economic power. First of all, it is necessary to look at CAATSA law. 

The CAATSA law is an act against the adversaries of the USA through imposing sanctions. In other words, the country that is sanctioned under this law is supposed an enemy of the USA. Although the U.S. administration claimed that these sanctions were imposed also on Russia, this step against Turkey as a NATO member is seriously problematic.

These sanctions significantly undermine the alliance relationship and lead to a new and more serious problem and distrust between the U.S. and Turkey. 

Therefore, Ankara can question the United States by establishing closer relations with different actors. Thus, the Ankara-Moscow-Tehran line, which is defined as a new equation in the region, can establish even a new stronger alliance.

Q: Given the U.S. sanctions on Iran and Turkey, and the Tehran-Ankara roadmap to increase trade relations, how can these two countries boost economic cooperation? 

A: Although they are sanctioned, there are both similarities and differences between the two countries. 

Given the historical neighborly relations with powerful states in the region, Turkey and Iran can play a significant role.

 Unlike Iran, the United States considers Turkey an enemy, not an ally to the West. 

Even Turkey, with a Western orientation, would not be a friend. 

Therefore, firstly the common denominators should be considered. Joint action should be taken in economic projects in sub-regional systems, particularly in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Trade facilitation incentives should be mutually applied. Of course, for all these, there must be harmonious attitudes between both states.

Q: Why is West Asia witnessing unprecedented chaos? Is there any strategic solution to unite the region?  

A: There are both internal and external reasons for the chaos in the Middle East (West Asia). Internal causes are as follows:

• Ethnic and sectarian division of the region,
• Israel's presence,
• Being the center of three otherworldly religions,
• Existence of underground resources,
• Poverty of the people of the region despite rich resources,
• Existence of artificial borders and states in the region,
• Countries in the region to open space for terrorist organizations,
• Statesmen in the countries of the region surrender to imperialism for their power.
• The external reason is that the Middle East (West Asia) is one of the areas of global competition.

The strategic solution to put an end to this chaos is to end the monarchical governments in the countries of the region where people can determine the future of their countries. 

Subsequently, the economies of the region must be freed from the imperialist encirclement. After that, a regional cooperation model should be developed. These are not goals to be achieved in the short term. But it is possible to achieve peace in the Middle East (West Asia) with determined steps.

“Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the proxy actors of the USA. They act as pawns of powers. Indeed, the monarchies in our region need U.S. support to maintain their power. Therefore, they serve the interests of Washington and Tel Aviv.” Q: What is Iran’s strategic significance to Turkey? To what extent can Ankara rely on Tehran as a partner or an ally?

A: Iran-Turkey ties are not just about the nearly 100-year relationship between the two states, but it is a relationship where two nations have been neighbors for centuries. 

We had no war since 1639. Now we are neighbors and friends. We also have cultural and historical ties and backgrounds. If the two states establish strategic cooperation, there will be a strong bloc against imperialism in the Caucasus and Central Asia, especially in the Middle East (West Asia). This means the rise of regional powers. It is also one of the most important conditions for the Middle East (West Asian) peace. If this union happens, both wings of the Islamic world will come together. Thus, the rise of the Islamic world begins. 

Q: How is Turkey going to balance its ties with Iran, Russia and the U.S. in the region?

A: Turkey's foreign policy historically has been very versatile. Except during the bipolar system era, it has maintained its relations with both the West and the East since the Ottoman period. 

This was a necessity due to its geopolitical location. Therefore, Turkey's maintaining such a balance has been beneficial for both Iran and Russia and the United States. Turkey can play a role in a transition from conflict to peace. 

Finally, I would like to state that Turkey is a fully independent country. It is not a pawn of any axis. It does what is necessary in the line with its national interests and international peace. Therefore, as it has been clearly seen in the last 20 years, it continues its relations with the USA, Russia, and Iran, even if it is painful.

Q: How do you see the relationship of the Arab Persian Gulf states with Turkey? Can Ankara rely on the relationship with them while they hailed the 2016 coup in Turkey?

A: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the proxy actors of the USA. They act as pawns of powers. Indeed, the monarchies in our region need U.S. support to maintain their power. 

Therefore, they serve the interests of Washington and Tel Aviv. Turkey is working for the sake of its national interests and the region's interests. For example, Turkey has opposed a military alliance against Iran, led by the United States and Saudi Arabia. 

Therefore, the imperialist states cannot act directly against Turkey using some countries in the region. Turkey has no problem with the peoples of these regimes. 

Q: Do you think that Turkey was successful in applying the policy of zero-problem with its neighbors?

A: Turkey has adopted the zero-problem foreign policy principle. This does not mean giving up interests in foreign policy. It means not to be a problematic actor in foreign policy. Indeed, Turkey doesn’t want to be the main factor in creating problems in the region.

 On the contrary, it is working to solve problems, as in the Astana process. In addition, this policy has a serious reputation among the peoples of the region. Today, the Egyptian people and even the Sisi government besides Israel are talking about the need to improve their relations with Turkey.

Also, the Astana process is an important initiative. Turkish foreign policy in Northern Iraq when Kurds resorted to a referendum to separate from the country prevented a new problem. Turkey helped the Persian Gulf countries to alleviate the crisis with Qatar. 
Ankara always helps Iran to confront terror attacks and other attempts. These are concrete examples that Turkey was successful in this policy.


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