Last week, the chief of staff of the Iranian military traveled to Ankara, where he met with his Turkish counterparts and apparently arrived at a strategic agreement, to be finalized during a reciprocal visit to Tehran. Turkey also announced recently that a delegation of senior Russian officials will soon be arriving to discuss cooperation among all three countries. According to reports in the Iranian press, writes Amir Taheri, this would involve working together to repress Kurdish national aspirations in the area that includes part of Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. And that’s just the beginning:
[Turkey wants] to promote a regional alliance that could eventually include Iran, Russia, and Iraq. The idea is that such an alliance, though limited in scope, would leave little space for the U.S.-led Western powers and their regional Arab allies to regain the influence they had enjoyed in the Middle East since the fall of the Ottoman empire over a century ago.
That, in turn, would give Turkey a big voice in the Levant as a springboard for a greater projection of power across the Middle East. . . .
[Likewise], Tehran believes the future of Syria must be determined by Iran, Turkey, and Russia to the exclusion of the U.S. and its Arab allies, [not to mention Israel]. . . . Don’t be surprised if Iran presents the new informal alliance as Russia and Turkey joining “The Resistance Front” led from Tehran. . . .
Is an Iran-Turkey-Russia triangle really taking shape? To judge by noises made in Tehran, Ankara, and Moscow, the answer must be yes. However, the three remain strange bedfellows, with contradictory positions and conflicting interests. In other words, between the cup and the lip there may be many a slip.