Iranian press review: Tehran worried by Ankara’s closer ties with Israel

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Alarm over Turkey’s expanding influence in region

Iran’s concerns over Turkey’s increasing influence in the Middle East and Central Asia have intensified after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would like to have better ties with Israel.

Iranian foreign policy experts have warned that Turkey is attempting to land another blow on Iran, a traditional rival in the region, by blatantly demonstrating its enthusiasm for restoring diplomatic relations with Israel.Israel-UAE deal: Iran and Turkey must form a united frontMahan AbedinRead More »

“In rivalry with Iran, Turkey follows different strategies to reduce Iran’s influence in Syria, Iraq and other countries, and that is the reason why it tries to bypass Iran in the region’s new equation,” Ali Bigdeli, an Iranian academic and analyst, told the Arman daily. 

Ebtekar daily, under the headline “a dangerous normalisation,” suggested that one of the most important drivers for Erdogan to restore ties with Israel was exerting pressure on Iran, a potential rival in Central Asia, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

In September, and before Ankara’s green light for restoring ties with Tel Aviv, Turkey increased its presence in Central Asia by providing full political and military support to Baku in the latest phase of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Iran had played the role of mediator between the warring countries, but Iran’s influence in Central Asia waned and Turkey has become the region’s new kingmaker.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Fararu website said Ankara’s competition with Tehran has not been limited to advancing its military and political relations with other countries in the region, adding that Turkey has also defeated Iran in economic competition by sending its first cargo train to China in November 2019.

On 4 December, Turkey’s first freight train left Istanbul and after 12 days arrived at its destination, Xi’an in China. The train travelled 8,693km and crossed through Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and China in a new trade route dubbed the Silk Road rail link.

Iran was also part of the initial plan for the railway, but Turkey eventually decided to bypass the Islamic Republic and reach China through its regional ally Azerbaijan.

“Now, not only Iran has no influence in policy making in the region, but it has also lost economic relations with its traditional allies like China,” Fararu wrote, referring to Turkey’s role in connecting China to Europe through railways.

Source: ME Eye

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