Thus, scrambling to broaden the spectrum of its strategic choices, Ankara turned to Israel and Saudi Arabia. Yet, it knew that only Iran senses its strategic malaise, especially with regard to the Kurdish issue. This is why Turkey is now finally turning to Iran. What we are witnessing is a tactical modulation of strategic calculations. To be clear, tactical changes, once proven fruitful, can lead to a strategic re-evaluation and maybe reorientation.
This is why the Iranians embraced Davutoglu’s new tone and are expected to keep moving on the same track, as indicated by Zarif’s scheduling of his long-awaited trip to Turkey only two weeks after Davutoglu’s visit to Tehran. Zarif’s statements during his visit elucidated Iran’s decision to expand relations with Turkey.
At this stage, both Turkey and Iran comprehend the repercussions of an internationalized Syrian crisis for their own national security. This is why they need to collaborate if there is to be any sort of a regional choice about the internationalized Syrian crisis. They are also expected to stick to the agreed-upon code of their relations: decoupling regional rivalries from bilateral relations. By adhering to this code, they can open different files on different levels to discuss various issues without the risk of negative spillover effects.
Moreover, continued Iran-Turkey economic relations, even during the most critical times, illustrate the demise of the all-or-nothing approach so common in Middle Eastern politics in the Iran-Turkey relationship. It also indicates both countries’ abilities to intersect different files, allowing them to do a lot in the face of rising challenges stemming from Syria and the region.