Is Turkey's War on Terror a Consequence of the Iran Deal?
The deal negotiated by the P5+1 with Iran on its nuclear program has been heralded by supporters as a historic agreement and regional game-changer. Much of the international criticism thus far has centered on Israeli and Gulf Arab skepticism about the deal. Overlooked in these discussions, however, is the significant impact the Iran deal is already having on other regional disputes, including Iran’s relationship with its traditional competitor, Turkey.
Operating with a caretaker government since its June 7 national elections and now heading to early elections on November 1, Turkey has opened a two-front war against the so-called Islamic State and its traditional foe, the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). Most analysts have pointed to the July 20 terror attack in Suruc and the subsequent killings of two Turkish police officers as the spark that triggered Ankara’s strategic shift. However, the fact that these events transpired immediately following the end of negotiations with Iran was not an accident. The broader trend of increased Iranian–Turkish competition is playing out regionally as Tehran’s support for the Kurds further antagonizes Ankara.