Iran’s ex-ambassador to Turkey
The first visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan to Tehran after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan secured another term in highly contested election is significant as it sets the groundwork for the future prospects of Tehran-Ankara relations. It is important to understand the purpose and agenda of Fidan’s visit to Iran. Talks between Iran and Turkey have always been crucial, encompassing various areas of bilateral, regional, and international cooperation.
Available information about Fidan suggests that he is a reserved politician, not particularly fond of media attention. His focus is mainly on political and security matters, and he has shown an interest in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This raises hopes that he has flown to Tehran with a logical and strategic agenda to foster cooperation.
Iran always welcome the development of relations with its neighbors. While Iran’s foreign policy in the past 15 years lacked cohesion in the region, it seems that President Ebrahim Raeisi’s government has a greater inclination toward strengthening ties with the regional nations and neighbors. Iran has initiated a de-escalation process in the region in recent months, which promises greater peace and stability in the future, potentially encouraging economic cooperation.
Turkey, on the other hand, has not maintained a steadfast position on regional developments, changing its stance every now and then. Therefore, even though Turkey might not actively engage in the regional de-escalation process, it is unlikely to obstruct it. As increased stability in the region would also serve Turkey’s interests and improve the investment climate in regional countries, including Turkey itself.
In Iran-Turkey relations, political, security, and military matters have always been prioritized alongside economic issues. Therefore, negotiations between Turkey’s top diplomat and Iranian authorities will undoubtedly include topics such as developments in the Caucasus region and the contentious issue of the Zangezur corridor. Syria’s developments, Turkey’s positions and actions in that country, as well as Iran’s relations with Russia and the presence of Kurdish militias in Iraq are also expected to be on the agenda.
Iran has already voiced its vehement opposition to the establishment of the Zangezur corridor, as it disrupts the land connection between Iran and Armenia, altering the geopolitical landscape of the region. Turkey had also previously rejected Iran’s plan to export natural gas to Europe through its territory, proposing to buy the commodity and then transport it. It is natural for Iranian authorities to remind Turkey’s foreign minister that the altering geopolitics of the region and the creation of the Zangezur corridor, if not under Armenian control and ownership, are non-negotiable for Iran.
Economically, Iran and Turkey do not currently have any major new projects on their agenda, as both countries are not in favorable economic conditions. However, they have always maintained their traditional economic ties. In addition to these ties, Tehran and Ankara share many common interests in bilateral cooperation, energy exchange, and trade, which can be further promoted in the future. Therefore, Fidan’s visit can be seen as a step toward improving future cooperation and a platform for discussing regional developments, particularly in Syria.