Turkey and Iran, being rivals are working toward influence in the Middle East. Turkey stature increase in the region is dependant upon before Arab Spring is to mantain economic and political stabilization, and better relations with a boastful Iran claimed Prime Minister Erdogen and Foreign Minister Davutoglu. Still ever cautious of relations with Iran, they continue to maintain relations with the US and NATO.
Thanks to Dr. Anthony Cordesman and his staff at the Center for Strategic and International Studies for supplied data with which ALU scholars can do a project analysis.The trends have turned to a cooling action because of Iranian support for the Assad regime and the Civil War in Syria. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities between the Assad regime and the rebels, Turkey was negotiating free trade, travel arrangements, mediation of Syria's indirect talks with Israel. Multiple visits between 2003-2011 ensued. 2009 saw both governments develop a "High Strategic Cooperation Council", hosting joint cabinet meetings, and joint military exercises. Turkey's "zero problems" strategy focused on bringing Syria "in from the cold" which was hailed as a success. The non sheltering of Abdullah Ocalan opened the way for transit routes for Turkish trucks heading for the oil-rich Gulf States, which is a trading and important partner in Turkey's fight with the PKK Turkey viewed Syria as an east/south gateway for it's goal of integrating the Middle East (politically and economically). The results of Turkey and Syria's High level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting in December 2010 focused on each one's cooperation was served as a model for the region and is being monitored by the same; With future enhancements between them and will change the future of the region.
Taking a more realistic observation of the conflict in Syria, Iran and Turkey have eased relations because of being on opposite sides of the conflict. International and domestic security interests is what Turkey sees. The Pkk attacks Turkish interests in Syria because of the lack of central state control (they have limited regional autonomy). The Pkk can gain a stronghold in northeast Syria to reinforce their effort of building a Kurdish state with an extended Civil War. By mid 2012 110,000 refugees went to Turkey forcing resources of the Turkish government to be pushed to the limit which sets up Turkey for a long term refugee population. Syrian shelling and Turkish artillery have caused border clashes, so that in 2012 a Turkish Phantom II jet was shot down by the Syrian military.
Ankara is supporting the Syrian opposition groups, using their territory (along the 511 mile long border with Turkey) as a staging area for the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council (now Syrian National Coalition).Turkey is thinking of invoking Article V of the NATO treaty in May and June 2013; they have been involved in an Article IV meeting in October 2012 to establish "humanitarian corridors" and a no fly zone. Turkey's concerns are that if there is an international effort to arm the rebels with additional weapons, it would increase the fighting and negatively effect the fighting in southeast Turkey. Iran's interests in Syria have come into conflict with Turkey's actions to the Assad regime. Being a critical access point for Iran because of, 1) closest to the Levant, 2) Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and 3) only ally globally or regionally since the revolution of 1979, they are trying to hold onto relations. Syria provided Iran with a supply line for supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah can provide a retaliation force, and threaten Israel's security giving Iran leverage in the Levant. Iran's regional ambitions would be short lived if they were to lose Syria (blow to power, and security).
Trying to convince Bashir al-Assad to make top down reforms, Turkey was snubbed in their efforts to engage the Syrian government forcing the Turkey joined Western and Gulf states to call for him to step down, which was directly opposite for Iranian ambitions. Iran calling for peaceful negotiations maintained their stance that the violence is caused by the foreign power and terrorist interference. Both Iran and Turkey accused each other of causing the bloodshed in Syria. Turkey's accusations are that Iran is supporting the regime, and Iran's accusations is that the Western powers are inflaming the peaceful situation. Ankara's support and denunciation of Assad is deemed as a betrayal, because of Turkey's cooperation with the west Iran claims. Iran still has priviledged access in Damascus.
ALU scholars, in doing their initial project analysis, looking into related facts concluded that Turkey and Iran both made claims that each other supported opposing sides in the Syrian civil War. Turkey claims that Iran had an ally since their revolution in 1979, which is supplying them a supply route for materials to be sent to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Their claims would further undermine the mediation with Syria based on the account of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, providing a retalian force against Israel, and giving them leverage in the Levant. Iran's counterclaims of Turkey trying to invoke Article V of the NATO treaty, trying to adhere to the Article IV suggestions of a "humanitarian corridor" and a no fly zone, Syria being an east/south gateway (prior to the conflict) spread their influence in integrating the Middle East. Both of them are also looking into the PKK building of a Kurdish state in northeast Syria. ALU suggestions would be to, 1) negotiation with iran, Turkey, and Syria into a Free Kurdish zone in northeast Syria with United Nations monitoring, 2) the 110,000 refugees in Turkey will need humanitarian support from worldwide sources, 3) Turkey's zero problems strategy should still be put into effect, 4) Turkey to continue mediation of their indirect talks with Israel, 5) Iran should decrease it's support for Hezbollah in lebanon, 6) the Assad regime should bring Turkey and Iran to the table (US, United Nations and NATO are observers), for discussions. Turkey, Iran, The United States, NATO, and the United Nations should draft a resolution to "Rebuild Syria for Syrians", to include cease fires, limited peace treaty, free trade zones, humanitarian efforts, and general infrastructure building to develop a key gateway for regional stability.