Zarif & Cavusoglu

New chapter in Iran-Turkey ties could have major impact on Syria

Al-Monitor | Hamidreza Azizi: For more than six years, the regional rivalry between Iran and Turkey and their support of different sides of the Syrian proxy war have been major obstacles to finding a political solution to the Syrian conflict. However, the recent rapprochement between Tehran and Ankara has renewed hopes for the political process to proceed toward a unified solution — one that seemed highly unlikely even a month ago.

Iranian Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri’s official visit Aug. 15 to Turkey, during which he held various meetings with high-ranking Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was widely interpreted by observers as the beginning of a new era in Tehran-Ankara relations. Indeed, Bagheri’s position as a military and not a political official could be considered a sign that the meetings were about coordination at the operational level, rather than political discussions.

Concern over the Kurdish issue has facilitated the rapprochement between the two countries. In a May 2016 Al-Monitor article, I explained how the Kurdish issue could work as a cornerstone for any Tehran-Ankara agreement regarding the Syrian crisis.

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