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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Russia is building a “triangle” with Iran and Turkey

The coming week Vladimir Putin will be devoted to contacts with our neighbors to the South. On Monday in Baku will host a meeting with Ilham Aliyev and Hassan Rouhani, the next day in St. Petersburg – the talks with Recep Tayyip erdoğan on Wednesday in Moscow arrives Serzh Sargsyan. Everyone’s attention is drawn to the conversation with the Turkish President, but the Russian-Iranian summit is also crucial.

The southern direction is now extremely important for Russia – there is a huge potential in relations with the two historical neighbors, Turkey and Iran, the need to ease the tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Karabakh.

“Azerbaijan is essentially a unique example of Russian-Turkish-Iranian intersection and symbiosis

And of course, our military operation in Syria for ten months where Russia has achieved substantial growth of its influence in the greater middle East. The main loss was the quarrel with Turkey, but can start the reconciliation allows us to begin creating a new, more stable support for Russia in the region. Three of its foundations should be relations with Turkey, Iran and Arab countries, and work on building relationships in this triangle is in full swing. Turkish President Erdogan immediately after the suppression of the coup, has told his Iranian counterpart that more than ever ready to cooperate with Russia and Iran:

“We are in cooperation with Iran and Russia hand in hand to solve regional problems and increase our steps to return to regional peace and stability”.

Iran and Turkey are two major regional powers, historic rivals in the region. But their long dispute over the Caucasus was resolved by Russia, joined this region after the wars with Turks and Persians in the 18-19 th centuries. Although the Caucasus is now technically “free”, Moscow, Ankara and Tehran is actually not a fatal conflict of contradictions either in this region or in General.

Religious and geopolitical interests of Turkey and Iran intersect in different countries of the region. But a much greater danger for the project of Erdogan and the Islamic Republic is that part of the global Anglo-Saxon elite, which puts the change of power in these countries and to contain Ankara and Tehran. Iran has withstood 35 years of confrontation with the United States, Turkey gradually more aware that the West is manipulating it to their advantage. And these two countries, when all the existing contradictions and ambitions, you can achieve much more together than feuding between themselves.

That is what is configured, Russia is our important strategic relations with Turkey and Iran. It is beneficial to us both economically and geopolitically: transport corridors North – South, a huge potential in trade, the construction of Russian nuclear power plants and the supply of our weapons, tourism and investment, not to mention the quiet southern borders, and combating terrorism. How will be to build relationships in the triangle of Moscow – Ankara – Tehran, depends on the outcome of the war in Syria. And that the Syrian war is now the main obstacle to the rapprochement of the three countries.

Russia and Iran support Assad, while Turkey supports its care – but after five years of civil war in Syria, it is clear that the overthrow of Assad will not succeed. Iran all these years has provided military aid to Damascus, and once last fall to help Assad came from Russia, no doubt to force regime change in Syria.

Turkey worries not so much the fate of Assad, how many amplification and isolation of the Kurds who inhabit the North of Syria. Ankara fears that the emergence of already the second of the Kurdish Autonomous region at its borders is a constant source of unrest, acts of terrorism, and even civil war, in Turkish Kurdistan (where the last year and so very hot). If Putin and Erdogan will be able to negotiate a Syria settlement, so that it is in the interests of Russia and Turkey and both countries need a United Syria), the enforcement of the anti-Assad rebels to the world will go faster.

Of course Turkey doesn’t want an excessive strengthening of Iran in Syria – but, in contrast to Saudi Arabia, does not consider the “Shiite arc” (from the South of Lebanon through Syria and southern Iraq) some existential challenge to its security. The struggle for influence in the neighboring country between Turkey and Iran will always be. But Ankara can not admit the obvious: its consistent for many decades, the support of allies (Hezbollah, Assad and the Iraqi Shia) Iran has created a very strong foothold in the region. And to deprive him of it neither Turkey nor Saudi Arabia, nor the United States. The American expansion in the region, in fact, led to the strengthening of Iran’s positions – which, however, the blood of their soldiers to defend their interests.

If a tripartite meeting Putin – Erdogan – Rouhani the time has not come yet, today’s Baku summit of Putin, Aliyev and Rouhani still in some way is a step in this direction. Azerbaijan in fact is a unique example of Russian-Turkish-Iranian intersection and symbiosis. Turkic people professing, like the Iranians, the Shia, for several centuries formed part of Persia, which was conquered by the Russian Empire. For two centuries, the Azerbaijanis are not Russified, but civilization is largely Russified and politically Baku can now serve as an important factor of convergence for all three neighboring countries.

The trilateral summit is being held for the first time, and in itself this was a sign of entering new stage of cooperation between Russia and Iran. After the lifting of international sanctions against Iran disappeared the last obstacles to strategic cooperation between the two countries, which is without exaggeration a huge potential.

Currently, about 70 joint projects. And like I said the other day, the co-chair of the intergovernmental Commission the Minister of energy Novak, “the main constraining factor is the question of monetary relations and interbank cooperation.” But the problem (related including the recent sanctions against Iran, and with the current sanctions against Russia) are gradually being overcome. So, in an interview with the Azerbaijani news Agency Putin said about the provision to Iran of two loans totaling EUR 2.2 billion to Finance the construction of CHP and railway electrification.

And this is only a small part of working on joint projects emerging from the external blockade Iran now will be to develop rapidly. For the Iranian market is already a serious struggle between the Europeans, Japanese, Chinese. The advantage of Russia not only in the presence of Iran need a modern technology that is cheaper than competitors (in terms of both weapons and nuclear power plants), not just good-neighbourly relations, but in the closeness of our views on world Affairs.

The geo-strategic understanding allows you to plan the transport corridor North – South along and across the Caspian sea to the Persian Gulf, to move away from the dollar in mutual trade, to prepare for joint military exercises and to be allies in Syria. Next year Iran will be adopted in the SCO and relations between the two countries will become even closer nature.

Iran has already chosen the path of true sovereignty, Russia also returned to him after the post-Soviet disorientation. If Turkey make the same choice, then the three countries will be new opportunities in order to become stronger.

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