Iran is on the verge of losing Turkey

Iran is on the verge of losing Turkey

The prevailing impression until recently was that Turkey had taken Iran’s side on the issue of nuclear energy, despite internal and external criticism.

Indeed, Ankara truly did all that it could. Last week’s visit to Tehran in particular inspired much hope. Turkey’s aim was to avert a military intervention by either Israel or the U.S. and to solve the matter through negotiation. 

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s meeting with Ayatollah Khamanei was of crucial significance. Things were over and done with when the Shiite leader told the Turkish prime minister that “building weapons of mass destruction amounts to a sin in our religion.” Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu took those words at face value. They acquiesced, even if they did not vouch for it, and proceeded to openly share this both with us in Turkey and with the Western world. They heartily espoused the idea of watching after Iran.

Tehran had also given the green light for proposed nuclear talks to be held in Istanbul. Iran had preferred Istanbul from the very start anyhow. While the West shrank away a little, Tehran remained insistent. After this, however, everything turned topsy-turvy. Parties who initially accepted the idea rejected Istanbul, and proposed Baghdad or Damascus. 

Things fell apart at this point. It became apparent the Iranians knew or understood little of Erdoğan, because this style of engagement is entirely out of the prime minister’s line. When Erdoğan believes in someone, he will go to the full extent for them. When that attitude shifts for any reason, he takes it very personally and concludes he has been cheated. He becomes infuriated, and cannot hide it, either.

It was the same story this time around as well. He issued a reply to Iran that was tougher than anything we had seen before. He accused them of evasion and self-isolation. 

Everything here is connected to the disagreements over Syria and the wrangling over next year’s presidential elections. It came to light that Syria is more important to Iran than Turkey is. The “Friends of Syria” meeting in Istanbul suddenly began to stand out, thanks in part to the internal dispute within Iran. Radicals went up in mutiny, claiming it would be wrong to go to Istanbul, where Syria’s enemies meet. Regardless of what the government has to say, Turkey fulminated in the wake of these attacks, which it was not at all used to. 

This incident has inflicted a deep scar on Turkish-Iranian relations, and the prime minister gave an appropriate response. In turn, Iran will perhaps see that it has come to the brink of losing Turkey, and that it may even have crossed that line. Iran must at least come to the realization that it will no longer be facing a Turkey that remains sympathetic despite all the pressure it faces.

Murder according to rules

It has been 100 days. Following a very detailed examination, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has released a report about the events that resulted in the death of 34 of our citizens in Uludere. “The operation was completed according to the rules of cross border operations.”

That’s it. Well, what are these rules? Who gave the order? Will there be a new bombing when 20-25 people cross at the same place? Then close the region totally, and announce that even a flying bird will be shot. It seems that while everyone else knew that smuggling was taking place, and groups had been crossing the border for years, only the TSK was unaware.

This is not an explanation. This means, “We have done something; don’t put pressure on us.”

Balbay in solitary confinement

Journalist Mustafa Balbay has been screaming: “It’s enough. I have been in a solitary confinement cell for months. Take me to a normal ward.” A person can go insane in a solitary confinement. 

Balbay has not committed a murder. He has not tried to wreck havoc inside, or beaten a guardian. The prison officials’ argument for not transferring him to a normal cell is that “the crime committed and the detained’s position are not suitable [for that].”

The court has not even decided what crime he has committed. His is officially known as a “detainee.” He has also been elected to Parliament. This is beyond shameful.