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Turkey has run afoul of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the United States as a result of its defense of Iran’s nuclear program and recent agreements on multi-billion dollar projects with Tehran, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Despite being a member of NATO, Turkey has backed Iran’s nuclear program and plans to expand dramatically its economic and trade relationship with Iran in the face of existing international sanctions.
Turkey wants to increase its trade to $30 billion with Iran, a goal Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu described as “accessible.”
“We can go even beyond this level,” he said.
Turkey and Iran have agreed to establish an industrial border area, form a joint airline and trade in local currencies to boost economic cooperation.
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Turkey also plans to build a transit road to China to pass through the Iranian cities of Tabriz, Tehran and Mashhad, according to Davutoglu.
The developments followed the visits in the past two weeks to Iran by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Davutoglu.
Erdogan met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a two-day visit to Tehran that resulted in what is described as a “massive agreement” to allow Turkey to explore Iran’s South Pars natural gas field and carry Iranian natural gas to Europe through pipelines crossing Turkey.
Ankara’s initiatives with Iran are, in part, due to the firm refusal by Germany and France to give the green light to Turkey’s admission into the European Union. In response, Turkey has embarked on a major policy shift to reassert its influence in the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia and to recreate the grandeur of the Ottoman Empire.
While Turkey remains committed to joining the EU, the reality is that membership has lost much of its appeal after years of rejection and repeated European demands to prove that it is worthy.
The firm opposition also may be due to Erdogan’s increasing injection of Islamic influence in Turkish policy.
“Turkey and Iran have important responsibilities to fulfill as sources of solutions, not problems,” Erdogan said. “Iran has always been a key actor in regional peace and stability because of what it has done and what it will not do.”
Erdogan’s position is counter to recent reaction by Israel, which regards Iran as a threat to Israel’s existence and is considering bombing Iran’s nascent nuclear facilities.