Turkey has lamented Iran’s recent decision to change the venue of talks with the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) which was originally scheduled to take place in Istanbul.
Over the past years, Turkey had always been viewed as a trusted mediator for Iran’s negotiations with the West. However, Ankara’s contradictory policies regarding the political unrest in Syria, especially its decision to host the so-called “Friends of Syria” conference in Istanbul, made Iran to suspect Turkey’s goodwill in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. Consequently, Iran proposed other places including Baghdad to host the future nuclear talks.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent visit to Iran created a good opportunity for both sides to strengthen ties and resolve their differences regarding the regional developments. However, the current interactions between Tehran and Ankara can have serious impacts on relations in the future.
Turkey’s strategy toward the ongoing political developments in the Arab world is viewed by Iran and many others as unclear, shaky and unstable. This can undermine Turkey’s position in the region which has gained prestige over the past years, especially since the Justice and Development Party came to power in 2002.
Turkey’s insatiable enthusiasm to join the European Union is in fact the main reason behind the country’s support for the Western policies in the region. Bearing all this in mind, Iran decided to propose another place for its sensitive nuclear talks with Western countries.
Now everyone is waiting to see how EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will react to Iran’s decision. Logically speaking, Western governments seem to have no objection to Iran’s choice of Iraq as venue of talks.