Daily Israel Report

Turkey-Iran Alliance Looming?

Turkish PM visits Iran to establish council of cooperation, as interim agreement eases sanctions on Iran's nuclear program.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 1/29/2014, 2:35 PM

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Reuters

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Iran on Tuesday, where he met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to discuss establishing a high-level council of cooperation. The rapprochement follows eased sanctions on Iran's nuclear program.

Erdogan will be in Iran for two days, meeting with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as well. Aside from speaking at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, he will also discuss a reciprocal visit by Rouhani to Turkey, reports the Turkish Hurriyet Daily.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzihe Afkham called the visit "very important," commenting that "dialogue and contacts have entered a new phase, and we hope this trend continues."

David Cohen, the US Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, was in Ankara, Turkey on Monday, where he said "businesses interested in engaging in Iran really should hold off."

However, in his state of the union address this week, US President Barack Obama reiterated that he would veto new sanctions on Iran.

Sunni-majority Turkey has been at odds with Shi'ite Iran over the Syrian war, as Turkey sides with opposition forces and Iran backs President Bashar Assad. However, with the recent Iran nuclear deal last November, the two countries announced they would boost the cooperation of their intelligence services.

Erdogan has softened his position in trying to limit judicial power over his authority, after facing major pressure at home over corruption scandals that have rocked his office.

His Islamist government recently replaced Iran as the main sponsor of Gaza-based terror group Hamas, supplying $250 million a year.