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Erdogan and Raisi discuss escalating Middle East tensions

1 min

In a significant meeting held on Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi engaged in a dialogue that underscored the critical concerns surrounding the growing tensions in the Middle East.

The meeting between Erdogan and Raisi serves as a stark reminder of the intricate web of alliances and rivalries

In a significant meeting held on Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi engaged in a dialogue that underscored the critical concerns surrounding the growing tensions in the Middle East.

During their discussions, President Raisi implicitly urged Erdogan to sever diplomatic ties with Israel, shedding light on the ongoing regional instability.

President Raisi's visit to Turkey took place against the backdrop of escalating tensions in the region, and he took the opportunity to call on his Turkish counterpart to end relations with Israel, a long-standing adversary of Tehran.

Meanwhile, Turkey has continued to maintain its commercial ties with the Israeli nation.

Raisi stated, "Cutting ties with the Zionist regime... could be effective in compelling it to put an end to all these atrocities," reiterating his stance that the United States bears responsibility for the ongoing violence and bloodshed in Gaza.

President Erdogan, an outspoken advocate for the Palestinian cause, has consistently been one of Israel's most vocal critics since the commencement of the Gaza conflict.

Erdogan has gone as far as to refer to Israel as a "terrorist state" and has expressed support for Hamas, a group that receives backing from the Islamic Republic of Iran, by labeling them as "liberators."

However, Erdogan did acknowledge in early November that recalling Turkey's ambassador to Tel Aviv, Sakir Ozkan Torunlar, was a necessary step.

He also noted the complexities involved in completely severing ties with Israel, as the two countries continue to engage in trade. Erdogan emphasized the importance of maintaining political contacts for the sake of future relations.

According to experts, the Gaza conflict has created a "tactical proximity" between Tehran and Ankara, despite their complex and occasionally conflicting positions on various regional issues.

Turkey has notably supported rebel groups in Syria in opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, who receives support from both Moscow and Tehran. Additionally, Turkey's support for Azerbaijan in the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, which Azerbaijan swiftly seized in an offensive in September 2023, has raised concerns in Iran.

Tehran is wary of Azerbaijan's growing influence in the Caucasus, as it could potentially fuel separatist aspirations among Iran's Azerbaijani ethnic minority. Iran is also wary of any ambitions by Azerbaijan, a Turkish ally, to establish a corridor through Armenian territory to Nakhchivan, which runs along Iran's northern border and could complicate Iran's access to Armenia.

As the Middle East continues to be a volatile region marked by geopolitical tensions, the meeting between Erdogan and Raisi serves as a stark reminder of the intricate web of alliances and rivalries that continue to shape the dynamics of the area.

By Stephen Kinston

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