Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

Turkish Foreign Policy in South Caucasus and Its Impact in Iran-Azerbaijan Relationship

Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

Turkish Foreign Policy in South Caucasus and Its Impact in Iran-Azerbaijan Relationship

Article excerpt


The collapse of the Soviet Union has been one of the most important events of the twentieth century. As a result of the collapse, Iran became the neighbor of the new countries. Azerbaijan is one of the countries, which have historical, cultural and religious commonalities with Iran. Despite the great sharing that exists between Iran and Azerbaijan, relations between the two countries have not been very successful, and despite to initial expectations, commonalities have not become a success for Iran in achieving its goals, in a way that we can even speak of Iran's failure to achieve its objectives in relation to Azerbaijan. In explaining the reasons for these failures, this paper explains the attempts of Turkey to influence more on the developments in the region in the economic, political, and cultural areas, and tries to answer how objectives, interests, and policies of Turkey in the region have been effective in the failures of Iran.

Keywords: Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, South Caucasus, foreign policy, regional competition

1. Introduction

One of the most geopolitical developments in the last decades of the last century was the collapse of the Soviet Union. The consequence was the emergence of new independent states of the Caucasus and Central Asia and their entry into the arena of international relations. Accordingly, a new order came after the Cold War, which changed both the regional and international environment. Rich energy resources, consumer markets for investment, along with identity and social crises, structural and political crisis, and economic weakness and inefficiency of local governments are the agents, which attracted other global players in the region. One of the consequences, along with the competition of trans-regional powers was the activation of regional powers to be present and influence on the Central Asia and the Caucasus region, which prior to this, they were not able to play a major role, because of the Soviet Union. According to many experts, the main area of competition among regional powers is between Iran and Turkey (Rafi & Mazloomi, 2012: 80). In fact, by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of independent states, Iran and Turkey took the opportunity to explore new economic and political roles in the region. By the cultural, religious, political and security reasons, Azerbaijan has always been a top priority of foreign policy of Iran in the Caucasus. Although Azerbaijan has common history, a common religion, common soil and water borders, a common language with a large minority of people of Iran, and in the past was a part of Iranian territory, Azerbaijan's relations with Iran have not developed in nearly two decades, and in some eras have faced serious crises.

Iran has defined a numerous goals and interests in the Caucasus and Central Asia, such as setting the legal regime of the Caspian Sea, using the primary resources and raw materials of the region, trying to convince neighboring countries to choose Iran as the path of energy transmission lines, preventing others from encroaching oil resources in the Caspian region, influencing the Muslims of Azerbaijan by religious and historical commonalities, preventing the formation and strengthening of political-security alliances, which are in the opposite direction with Iran, and finally neutralizing the U.S. and Israel presence and influence in the region. Achieving these goals largely depends on the development of political, economic, security, and cultural relationships with Azerbaijan. Many factors, both at the regional and trans-regional levels were influential, which each one has played a significant contribution to the failure of Iran. It appears one of the important factors is Turkey's efforts to influence the developments in the region in the economic, political, and cultural areas. These efforts have so far managed, directly or indirectly, the failure of Iran's politics in achieving its goals in the South Caucasus region, and particularly Azerbaijan. …

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