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Merve Tahiroglu and Behnam Ben Taleblu explain how Turkey and Iran, in a tradition dating to the Ottoman and Persian Empires, both cooperate with each other and compete for Middle Eastern influence.
“Turkey and Iran: The Best of Frenemies” – The Globalist:
Thus, the nuance of their relationship is best captured by the term “frenemy.” In the nation-state context, frenemy connotes a multi-dimensional and fluid association, rather than a fixed one.
While seemingly a paradoxical concept, frenemies are able to straddle the gray area between adversity and alliance. Such nations can concurrently castigate and embrace one another other. The ties between Tehran and Ankara are among the best examples of this tendency.
As the two non-Arab powers of the Muslim Middle East, Turkey and Iran offer rival visions for the region’s order. These diverging viewpoints are first and foremost informed by the biographies of the men at the helm of each state. More broadly, they stem from the political experiences of each country in the post-colonial era.