What changed in the Tehran summit? - SELÇUK TÜRKYILMAZ

What changed in the Tehran summit?

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a press conference following his meeting in Iran with his Russian and Iranian counterparts, Vladimir Putin, and Ebrahim Raisi. Erdoğan stated that a summit of this format was last held in 2019 in Ankara. In this speech, Erdoğan specifically underlined that the fight against terrorist organizations will continue: “The fight against Daesh, the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party], the YPG [People’s Protection Units], and all other terrorist organizations must continue without cease. The greatest favor for Syrian people is to remove the separationist terrorist organization from the lands they are occupying.” The fight against terrorist organizations was only recently a matter of negotiation upon Sweden and Finland’s demand to join NATO. There is no need to bring up again said countries’ support for terrorist organizations. But I would like to underscore the fact that the U.S., as well as numerous European countries, embraced the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) in addition to the PKK and the YPG was officially on the agenda of these negotiations. The terrorist organizations highlighted in President Erdoğan’s speech after the Astana Summit were Daesh, the PKK, and the YPG. FETÖ was not mentioned in any of the statements, which is noteworthy. 


President Erdoğan showed the whole world that European countries and the U.S., as well as Russia and Iran, have been causing instability in the region by supporting terrorist organizations. Sweden and Finland’s affiliation with terrorist organizations going on record within the frame of their NATO membership alone is important, but the real impact of this will be seen later. One of the matters that require focus is how the primary elements of the region are in such open relations with the outside through religion, ethnicity, sects, or other reasons. We will not be looking at the significance of the PKK and YPG, or other similar groups’ Marxist past. Yet, it is very clear that this question begs a response from its addressees. Similarly, there are those who still try to explain FETÖ based on their religious past. They too need to explain relations with Europe, the U.S., and Israel. Türkiye discusses the presence of these organizations with Europe and the U.S., or with Iran and Russia as a problem concerning our region. Yet, this is not considered an intellectual matter within. 


It is clear that matters concerning the Ukraine War were also discussed in Tehran. John Kirby, who currently serves as the coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council in the White House, avoided expressing any opinion about the Tehran Summit and sufficed by stating his pleasure about the developments regarding grain exports. Kirby said they are hopeful about the introduction of Ukraine wheat to international markets, and added that they are happy with Erdoğan’s leadership, saying U.S. President Joe Biden thanks him for his efforts. He further emphasized that Ukraine needs to be accepted as a side in negotiations on grain exports. These statements reveal the degree of U.S. concern with the developments in our region. 


While the U.S. or European countries do not see their support to terrorist organizations deeply impacting our region as a problem, they did not avoid dragging East Europe into great chaos. They, and primarily the U.K., almost acted as warmongers. This is how the approaching food crisis emerged. President Erdoğan gave quite positive messages in Tehran regarding this issue as well. In the meeting with Russian President Putin, Erdoğan referred to the negotiations held in Istanbul concerning Ukrainian wheat’s introduction into international markets and stated that the Russian committee has a positive approach. Erdoğan pointed in Tehran to developments that will relieve the whole world with the Ukrainian wheat’s introduction into the international market. 


Considering Erdoğan’s statements, it is clear that maintaining the relative peace atmosphere in Idlib was also on the summit agenda. Erdoğan stated the last Astana Summit was held in 2019 in Ankara. This summit was held in September 2019. Then, balances in north Syria changed quite a bit with the Peace Spring Operation in October 2019, and the Spring Shield Operation in February 2020. Türkiye declared to the whole world, almost risking its existence, that it will not allow a terror corridor in north Syria. The pandemic reached Türkiye in March 2020. As the world was experiencing the pandemic period, they wanted to respond to the operations carried out in north Syria in Libya, and the Caucasus. It can be said that maintaining the respective peace atmosphere in Idlib is directly related to many developments in which Türkiye is involved. 


As long as Türkiye makes its own decisions, it is clear that we will see major changes. 


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