Russia-Turkey-Iran Triangle: Economic Interests Are Paramount

Turkey, often shuffling positons based on immediate geopolitical and economic interests, now enjoys close ties with Russia and Iran
Diplomatic talks among Syrian parties sponsored by Russia, Iran and Turkey are underway in Sochi. Turkey’s leadership promoted the notion during the 2011 Arab Spring protests that the country could be a democratic model for other Muslim nations. But the country of 80 million people lacks natural gas or oil resources. “Its main sources of gas are Russia and Iran, contributing respectively 60 and 30 percent of the total, with the rest coming from Azerbaijan,” explains author and historian Dilip Hiro. Turkey, a NATO member, sides with surrounding powers based on geopolitical and economic interests. For now, Turkey, Russia and Iran share agreement on multiple fronts: Russia is constructing a new gas pipeline to deliver energy to Turkey and southern Europe. After a failed 2016 coup in Turkey, Russia’s president supported the hardline Turkish response. Russia likewise supported Turkish concerns about the Kurdish fighters in Syria. Turkey switched sides in the war, joining Russia and Iran, and supports peace negotiations that prioritize stability and maintain the Assad regime while targeting the US-backed Kurds. Likewise, Turkey once opposed Iran’s intervention in Yemen, but Iran’s leader also supported the Turkish president after the coup attempt. – YaleGlobal