S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) Journal of International and Area Studies Journal of International and Area Studies vol.23 (2016)
Turco-Iranian Alignment: Balancing or Bandwagoning with the US?
- Kang, William; Kim, Jaechun
- Issue Date
- Institute of International Affairs, Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University
- Journal of International and Area Studies, Vol.23 No.1, pp. 17-32
- Alliance and Alignment; U.S. Middle East Policy; Balancing and Bandwagoning; Turkey’s Foreign Policy; Iran’s Foreign Policy
- Turkey and Iran has had a long history of rivalry and cooperation. However, the advent of the Arab Spring and the Syrian conflict escorted unprecedented tensions between these two non-Arab states. Syria epitomizes the geopolitical tensions between Turkey and Iran amongst a host of regional issues, in which they are at loggerheads over regional influence at the expense of each other. At pernicious odds over Syria, Turco-Iranian relations seemed inexorably precarious going forth. That is until Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s January 29th, 2014 visit to Iran signaled a thawing and growing alignment toward Iran. The alignment behavior of Turkey and Iran presents something of a puzzle. This paper investigates the nature of the current Turco-Iranian alignment by adopting structural realist theory of alliance. The choice of grand strategy that the U.S. adopted and its actions in the Middle East resulted in Turkeyand Iran bandwagoning with the U.S. instead of balancing against it, which in turn made Turkey and Iran cooperate. Even though Turkey is a NATO ally of the U.S., both Turkey and Iran had limited options due to the actions of the U.S.