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Erdogans Flirt mit dem islamischen Gottesstaat

turkey-iran„The Syrian war went through one of its bloodiest stretches in recent weeks, with Iranian proxies battling Turkish-backed rebels for control of the city of Aleppo. At the same time, Iran’s foreign minister visited Ankara for the second time in two months for talks on how to improve bilateral ties, boost mutual trade, and bolster energy cooperation. This rapprochement between Sunni-majority Turkey and Iran’s Shiite theocracy, which began earlier this year and picked up pace after the failed July coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, defies the easy characterizations of the region’s mayhem as a sectarian conflict. It also shows the ability of these two regional powers to compartmentalize their differences over the future of Syria – and to focus on areas where they share a common agenda. These overtures, unsurprisingly, have caused unease among the countries that used to think of Turkey as an ally – in the West and even more so among the Sunni Arab states that consider Iran an existential enemy. (…)

Iran and Turkey, of course, also have a long history of dealing with each other as powerful states of comparable strength – states whose rivalry in centuries past enabled the encroachment into the Ottoman and Persian empires by Western powers and Russia. The allegation by many Turkish officials that the U.S. may have played a role in the failed putsch against Mr. Erdogan – a coup attempt immediately condemned by Tehran – helped make Iran’s anti-Western stance more palatable in Ankara. (…) Both governments also subscribe, to a different degree, to notions of political Islam. Mr. Erdogan’s ruling party draws its roots from the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni group originally created in Egypt that wasn’t particularly hostile to the Iranian regime until the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after all, once personally translated into Persian the books of the Brotherhood’s seminal ideologue Sayyid Qutb. Such a complex shared history means that Turkey doesn’t view Iran through the same sectarian prism as Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab monarchies.“

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