Why is the imposition of the neo-conservatives’ strategy on Iran unacceptable?

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With recent reports in the headlines such as “Iranian companies have grown in popularity; 2116 Iranian companies were launched in the last 3 years”, public opinion has been misled about Iranian investments.

Thanks to this “high-profile perception engineering” that emerged in the aftermath of the corruption operation in Turkey, Iranian, Arabian and other Islamic investors have been scared away; over the last decade, the aforementioned investors had brought with them new economic opportunities. It is obvious that the fallout of this corruption operation will do harm to the Turkish economy and for tarnishing the image of the Turkish government,.

Within a short span of only 13 days, the Turkish economy has lost roughly $105 billion. The prolongation of this misperception of a corrupt Turkey does nothing but reinforce a mentality that seeks to have only weak Middle Eastern governments. What’s even more dangerous is that aside from Iran, Arabian and Muslim countries, the Western world have also begun to avoid investing in Turkey.. And this is a huge blow to Turkey’s long-term goals looking out to 2023. Discrediting Turkey’s credit opportunities simply means termination of investments: The absence of any investments means the end of resources that would finance the Turkish state’s projects, services, hospitals and constructions. Ultimately the party that would receive the most harm would be the Turkish nation.

Within the last 5 years, Turkey has attained a trade volume of $65 billion  with Iran. Despite the most strict international embargo imposed on Iran for years, reaching such a volume is surely one of the most important successes of the Turkish government. In the absence of any embargo, this figure can readily reach $200 billion .

WHY CAN’T TURKEY ACCEPT THE EMBARGO IMPOSED ON IRAN?

1. Relationships:  Turkey and Iran share a 560 kilometers long border. As in the case of Syria and Iraq, there are long-standing relationships between the two sides of the border.

2. Border Trade: The Turkish people living on the border regions and  industrialists and tradesmen in the Eastern region make great profits from their trade with Iran. The prohibition of this trade not only has a deep negative effect on Iran, but also on Turkey.

3. The Turkish Population in Iran: Some 42 percent of the Iranian population (77 million) is Turkish.Those who advocate the embargo imposed on Iran based on anti-Persian sentiment commit a great error. There are various Turkic peoples such as Kazakhis, Uzbeks, Turkmens, Kashgais and Khurasan Turks living in different regions of Iran. Tabriz is the political and cultural center of Iranian Turkism.

4. The Kurdish Population in Iran: The Kurdish population in Iran is estimated to be 12 million. Consequently these people are also under the protection of Turkey and their relatives reside in Turkey.

5. Just as every people, the Iranian people are also innocent: It is incumbent upon us to protect and watch over the rights of Muslims and the innocent in Iran. 90 percent of Iran’s population is Shia, while 8 percent of it is Sunni. Whether Shia or Sunni – in fact, no matter of what belief it may be – we are responsible for protecting and watching over every innocent person.

6. All the neighbors of Iran are Muslims and the embargo also negatively affects them: The embargo on Iran also affects Iran’s other neighbors, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Iraq. Simply put, the ongoing embargo does harm to millions of people in the region.

7. The embargo imposed on Iran affects the Middle East: Iranian Shias have relatives living in Bahrain, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and in many other countries. Therefore this embargo also has a profound impact on these countries as well.

8. Turkey must be able to attain the cheap sources of energy: Turkey surely needs to supply its oil and natural gas needs in the cheapest way. Whether it is from Russia or Iran, this need has to be absolutely met.

9. Tourism: During the last decade, there has been a huge increase in the number of Iranian tourists visiting Turkey, which has an impact on the economy. Forming an opinion against Iran in the public would tarnish fraternal, touristic, cultural and economic relations with Iran.

10.  Iranian Capital: Just as how Turkey attracts Russian, American and European capital, she must be allowed to benefit from  Iranian capital as much as possible.

IMPORTANT QUESTIONS THAT NEED TO BE ANSWERED ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST

While speaking of the Middle East, there is the need to give genuine answers to some questions.

“Do  Middle Eastern countries have to abide by every command and wish of the hawkish Neo-Conservatives who hold control over the deep government of the USA?”

“Do Turkey and Iran have to do everything the American Neo-conservatives wish them to do?”

In response to these questions, Tayyip Erdogan and the AK Party has said “No” to all of these impositions and commands that will do nothing but impoverish the Turkish people and the Middle East.

Surely it is out of question for Turkey to blatantly accede to each imposition of the West.

It is also pointless to move Turkey into a policy that will shake the entire Middle East.

However some of the hawkish Neo-conservative elements of the USA’s deep government continue to terrorize the region with the aim of setting Iran straight (from their point of view) and bullying Iran. This deep structure seems insistent on proceeding on many impositions, which are also at odds with the Obama administration.

There is no rationale in impoverishing the Iranian people and lowering their quality of life . Besides, the Iranian authorities have stated repeatedly that they have no intention to produce any nuclear weapons and even if they had such weapons, it would be religiously unlawful  to use them. Despite this, a group within the deep government of the USA simply ignores this. Meanwhile, putting Turkey into difficulty through the schemes played over the Middle East is utterly unacceptable.

At this point, Prime Minister Erdogan is pursuing the mission of making the Turkish nation wealthy and also making the Middle East wealthy.

EMBARGOS ONLY OPPRESS THE INNOCENT

Such embargos have also been an issue for many other countries before and as a result the innocent people there were greatly harmed.

Such embargos also became the issue for Iraq, and on the highly dubious grounds that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, the USA invaded it and a million Iraqi people were martyred.  To this day, Iraq is still in ruin and hasn’t been able to fully recover yet. Terrorism, turmoil, and sectarian conflict pervade the country.

Now with the same imaginary scenarios, they want to impoverish first Iran , followed by Turkey and then the entire Middle East  under the guise of punishing the Iranian regime. The purpose here is clearly to also break their defense and prevent them from developing new technologies. It is calculated that Iran will no longer be able to produce any nuclear weapons this way.

The fact is, neither North Korea, nor China, nor Pakistan nor Russia never took any steps back and proceeded on producing nuclear weapons.

Embargos did not make these totalitarian regimes capitulate to world opinion; on the contrary, they urged their conceited leaders to take steps towards more violence, greater oppression and anti-democratic practices.

On the other hand, relations between states and shouldn’t be in the form of one party humiliating the other or attempting to bring it to its knees. Hurting national pride only causes resentment and bitterness.

WHY CAN’T THE IRANIAN PEOPLE BE PUNISHED BECAUSE OF THE ERRORS OF THE IRANIAN REGIME?

Our foreign policy, which does not intersect with Iran’s, is by no means any reason for the disengagement of Turkey’s mutual relations with Iran.

IranİAN and Turkish foreign policies conflict on various matters: Iran backs Assad, who has thus far murdered some 130 thousand people in Syria. This is surely not acceptable; indeed, the Turkish government has initiatives in this regard and is trying to convince Tehran otherwise. These initiatives have ultimately started to deliver results and the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Jawad Zarif, though far from appearing sincere, has expressed bringing peace to Syria through some common solutions.

On the other hand, China and Russia also support Assad. Indeed, Russia is the country that established and most strongly supports Assad’s army. Those who insincerely express cutting off trade relations with Iran at every opportunity don’t think of doing the same with these countries.

Before all else, we need to bear in mind that Iran’s errors and mistakes can not be removed by subjecting its people to suffering. No society should be punished because of their regimes or their ruling elite.

Meanwhile, the best way to convince Iran shouldn’t be to emulate the West’s loveless and inhumane policies.

Any attitude that will push the Islamic world into ever-greater turmoil must be meticulously avoided. At this point the Turkish Republic must grow as strong as it can , and in assuming the role as  elder brother, maintain its position as an important element of balance in the world.

Seral Koprulu

Columnist at Yeni Safak

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