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Mesopotamian Nexus: Iran, Turkey, and the Kurds

  • William Gourlay

Abstract

This chapter examines the foreign policy options available to Iran under President Hassan Rouhani within the Mesopotamian neighborhood. It will focus particularly on Turkey, a fellow middle-power, non-Arab state in the Middle East, within the context of the shifting dynamics ofKurdish politics. Iran and Turkey may be seen as rivals in their immediate neighborhood.1 They also assume verydifferent poses in their relations with the West; Turkey is seen as a reliable ally of the West, while Iran is opposed to Western influence and involvement. Examining Iran’s position relative to Turkey in the region through a purely realist prism would posit that the struggle for power is the fundamental political factor that determines the foreign policy of both countries. This would mean that direct clashes of interest and one-on-one power plays are the prime determinants of the Iran—Turkey relationship. The election of Hassan Rouhani to the presidency in 2013, however, raised the prospect of a more cooperative and collaborative Iranian foreign policy. Iran—Turkey relations, which had warmed in recent years, looked set to further improve under President Rouhani’s purview.

Keywords

Foreign Policy Gulf Cooperation Council Iranian Regime Islamic Revolution Friendly Competition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    On omnibalancing see Stephen David, Choosing Sides: Alignment and Realignment in the Third World (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991).Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    See Suleyman Elik, Iran-Turkey Relations, 1979–2011: Conceptualising the Dynamics of Politics, Religion, and Security in Middle-Power States (New York: Routledge, 2011), 65.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Elliot Hentov, Asymmetry of Interest: Turkish-Iranian Relations Since 1979 (Saarbrucken: Lambert Academic Publishing, 2012).Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Sean Kane, “The Coming Turkish-Iranian Competition in Iraq,” in United States Institute of Peace Special Report (Washington: Institute of Peace, 2011).Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    See Robert Olson, The Goat and the Butcher: Nationalism and State Formation in Kurdistan-Iraq since the Iraqi War (Costa Mesa: Mazda Publishers, 2005), 93.Google Scholar
  6. 16.
    Shireen Hunter, Iran s Foreign Policy in the Post-Soviet Era (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010), 167.Google Scholar
  7. 20.
    KerimYl ldtiz, The Kurds in Iran: The Past, Present and Future (London: Pluto Press, 2007), 69–70.Google Scholar
  8. 28.
    For more on this era see David McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds, 3 ed. (London: I. B. Tauris, 2004), 370.Google Scholar
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    Robert Olson, Turkey-Iran Relations, 1979–2004: Revolution, Ideology, war, Coups and Geopolitics (Costa Mesa: Mazda Publishers, 2004), 4–5.Google Scholar
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  11. 52.
    David Romano, The Kurdish Nationalist Movement: Opportunity, Mobilisation andIdentity(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 245–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See polls as cited in Denise Natali, The Kurdish Quasi-State: Development and Dependency in post-Gulf War Iraq (New York: Syracuse University Press, 2010), 123–24Google Scholar
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  14. 69.
    For instance, see Thomas Juneau and Sam Razavi, eds., Iranian Foreign Policy Since 2001: Alone in the World (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013).Google Scholar

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© William Gourlay 2016

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  • William Gourlay

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