The Journal for Interdisciplinary Middle Eastern Studies

Iran-Turkey: From Economic Partnership to Regional Rivalry

Iran-Turkey: From Economic Partnership to Regional Rivalry

  • Farhad Rezaei


While Iran and Turkey have had a long history of rivalry which has hampered the more recent efforts to shape the region according to their respective visions they have also had a history of cooperation and robust economic ties. During the sanctions regime imposed on Iran for its controversial nuclear program Turkey was one of the countries that, without breaching international sanctions, assisted Iran’s economic survival by allowing private business transactions to continue. Since Tehran was seeking a reliable trading partner and Ankara needed access to the Iranian oil the arrangement was mutually beneficial and this brought the countries closer together. 

Despite this the countries have been at odds over a number of issues – Iran’s support for the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, which has endangered Turkey’s influence in the region; Iraq, which has also been a field of growing competition between Tehran and Ankara since Iran began trying to fill the power vacuum created by the withdrawal of American forces; and the Sunni-Shi‘a sectarian conflict fueled by Iran which has drawn both countries into the conflict in Iraq on opposing sides. The objective of this article is to review the areas of both conflict and cooperation between Iran and Turkey and to offer solutions that might help develop a robust policy that will help prevent missteps that could harm their mutual interests.


  • Iran
  • Turkey
  • Regional Conflict
  • Regional Cooperation

To cite this article: Farhad Rezaei, “Iran-Turkey: From Economic Partnership to Regional Rivalry”, The Journal for Interdisciplinary Middle Eastern Studies, 1 (2017), pp. 59-78.

ISSN (Print): 2522-347X
ISSN (Online): 2522-6959