While Israel and Turkey have been making progress in their efforts at reconciliation, last week the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with the presidents of Iran—the most dangerous enemy of the Jewish state—and of Russia, Iran’s major patron. The summit, held in Tehran, thus raises serious doubts in both Jerusalem and Washington about whether any kind of productive relationship with Erdogan is possible. But Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak notes that Ankara has many serious differences with both Tehran and Moscow, and backs the enemies of both countries in Iraq, in the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict, and above all in Syria:
Turkey’s military penetration in Syria creates a massive headache for Iran. Turkey and Iran are fighting a proxy war in the country. While Turkey backs the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that sought to overthrow the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and remove Russian forces from the country, Iran backs Assad and local Shiite elements. Turkey has [provided] active support to the FSA from the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011. In 2016, Turkey became a belligerent [itself].
Turkey’s mending of ties with Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and even, to some extent, Egypt serves to isolate Tehran further and retaliate for the terrorist attack attempted against Israelis in Turkey [last month].
Despite Iran’s apparent attempt to violate Turkey’s sovereignty in Istanbul, the centuries-long Turkish-Iranian diplomatic tradition dictated that Ankara respectfully receive the Iranian foreign minister. In other words, . . . Ankara [is keeping] its friends close but its enemy closer.