Iran’s Nuclear Program and it’s effects on Turkey discussed
On January 29, the GMF Ankara office, together with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), held a roundtable discussion on the nuclearization of Iran and regional security dynamics. The discussion was chaired by Jon Wolfsthal, Senior Fellow at CSIS, Alexander Lennon, Editor in Chief of The Washington Quarterly, CSIS's flagship journal and Suat Kiniklioglu, Director of the GMF Ankara office. Participants included diplomats, academics, politicians, think tank members and journalists.
The discussion centered around the CSIS research project on the nuclearization of Iran and focused on the Turkish perception of Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons. The particpants looked at the U.S.'s current policy roles and capabilities as well as how this will affect the region. They also analyzed Iran's current behavior and how Turkey perceives it through behavior and policy.
The Turkish side argued that a possible operation on Iran by the U.S. will harm Turkey deeply because it will promote Kurdish nationalism, upset the regional balances and create instability in the region. Additionally, the public opinion in Turkey is against another U.S. intervention in a neighboring country, particularly a country with a predominantly Muslim population.
The U.S. side argued that contrary to the situation with Iraq, there is convergence of policies among Democrats and Republicans towards Iran. A change of government will not change the US Policy towards Iran.) Though specifics may differ, both parties are in favor of taking some type of action against Iran.
All participants agreed that further nuclearization of Iran will increase sectarian violence, terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism. They fear that this will also create permanent tension in the region and start a nuclear race in the Middle East.
Ambassador Faruk Logoglu of the Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies suggested that to prevent Iran's further development of nuclear weapons, the US should first repair its reputation in the region by saving Iraq, Iran should be engaged in the nuclear issues directly and not be discounted and other Islamic countries in the region should not be aligned against Iran.