Conflict & Justice

What role will Turkey play in Iran?


Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi speaks with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu (R) in Istanbul on Nov. 2, 2011.


Bulent Kilic

ISTANBUL — Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers will meet in Tehran this week to talk about developments in the region.

The visit between Turkish Foreign Minister Davutgolu and Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Ekber Salihi is one of their regular two yearly meetings, according to the press statement released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry. During the meeting the ministers will touch upon the situation in Syria and the Iranian nuclear program as well as bilateral and international developments, according to the statement.

Iran and Turkey have neighborly relations but the two countries have come down on different sides on several issues in the region.

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Recently the Turkish decision to host a NATO missile defence shield in its territories that many believe is a US measure against Iran have created some friction between the two countries. Turkey denies the shield is aimed at countering Iran.

The two allies have also come down on opposite sides on the Syrian issue with Turkey calling on Syrian President Bashar Al Assad to reform and stop the violence against the opposition in his country. Iran has long backed the minority Alawite sect that rules Syria.

Meanwhile, economic relations between the two countries remain steadfast with Turkey weighing whether or not to seek a sanction exemption for its main oil importer, Tupras, from US sanctions that prohibit transactions with entities that conduct business with the Iranian Central Bank.

More from GlobalPost: Has Turkey turned its back on the West?

Turkey, an American ally, is overwhelmingly dependent on Iranian oil receiving roughly 30 percent of its yearly supply from its eastern neighbor.