The Russians cancelled a high-level trip to Turkey on Sunday and Iran’s Foreign Minister turned up in Ankara unannounced, heralding potential closer relations with Turkey.
The surprising decision by the Russian Foreign Minister and Russian Defense Minister meant Ankara had to turn to its second partner ally in the region, Iran.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Mohammad Javad Zarif boarded a plane sometime around when the Russian trip was postponed, so it was not clear if his trip was supposed to have initially been a clandestine event to coincide with Russian visit or if it was arranged at the last minute.
Given the overall mystery of the Russian cancellation, purportedly due to disagreements over Syria and Libya where Ankara is trying to play the Americans off against the Russians and work both sides, the red carpet for the Iranians was particularly interesting.
ISNA news in Iran says that Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed “relations between Tehran and Ankara are close in various fields but require further consultations.”
Reports indicate that Turkey and Iran discussed their common view against US sanctions on Iran, a new summit on Syria between Russia, Turkey and Iran, an upcoming meeting in Tehran, resumption of gas trade and pipeline repairs between the two countries, and cooperation in Libya and against “terrorism.”
Mohammad Javad Zarif praised the fruitful talks and said he was moving on to Russia next. Flights may resume between the two countries by August.
That Iran said Turkey and Iran have the same view on Libya is interesting because Turkey was trying to pressure the US to do more in Libya and leaked media stories tried to portray Iran and the Syrian regime as on the side of the Libyan opposition, instead of Iran siding with Turkey.