Mesopotamian Nexus: Iran, Turkey, and the Kurds

  • William Gourlay


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.


Foreign Policy Gulf Cooperation Council Iranian Regime Islamic Revolution Friendly Competition 
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© William Gourlay 2016

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  • William Gourlay

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