Sun, July 24, 2011 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Revolutionary Guards weekly issues warning to Turkey: if forced to choose, Iran will prefer Syria over Turkey
Sobh-e Sadegh, a weekly published on behalf of the Revolutionary Guards, warned Turkey that, if its current hostile stance towards Syria persists, Iran will be forced to prefer Syria over Turkey.
On the backdrop of the Turkish foreign minister’s visit to Iran last week, the weekly criticized Turkey’s stance on the developments in Syria, to which it referred as a Western plot against the Syrian government. The weekly accused Turkey of siding with the U.S. and providing assistance to Syrian dissidents through the Syria-Turkey border. The weekly argued that Turkey’s position results from its erroneous assessment that Bashar Assad’s regime is likely to fall, in which case it may improve its regional position.
The Revolutionary Guards periodical pointed out a significant difference between Syria and the other Arab countries where riots broke out this year. Unlike Arab countries whose popular protests were internal and resulted from a long-standing policy of oppression exercised by the regimes against the people, the riots in Syria broke out as a result of foreign involvement stemming from the anger felt by the U.S., Western countries, and some Arab countries towards Syria for its support of the resistance front. These countries assumed that, by toppling the Bashar Assad regime, supported by the Syrian public, they could compensate themselves for some of the losses suffered as a result of the riots in the Arab world.
From Iran’s point of view, the Syrian government is able to overcome the challenge it is facing and resolve its problems only once foreign involvement in its internal affairs stops. The world is well aware of the relations between Iran and Syria, and Iran should not conceal them. The developments in Syria are directly tied to Iran’s interests, the weekly argued.
If Turkey’s current hostile stance towards the events in Syria persists, Iran will be forced to choose between Turkey and Syria, Sobh-e Sadegh said. In that case, Iran will likely follow its strategic interests and ideology and prefer Syria over Turkey. Turkey must understand Iran’s position, act wisely, and not lead Iran to a point where it has to choose between the two countries (Sobh-e Sadegh, July 18).
Last week Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi addressed the differences of opinion between Iran and Turkey over the crisis in Syria, saying that the three countries need to work together to resolve it. Speaking at a joint press conference with the Turkish foreign minister, Salehi said that Syria, Turkey, and Iran are one family, and that if one of them has a problem, the entire family must work together to find a solution (Tehran Times, July 12). In an interview to Fars News Agency, Salehi had praise for the measures taken by President Assad and the Syrian government to fulfill the demands of the Syrian people. He condemned the foreign intervention in Syria’s domestic affairs, while also calling on the government of Syria to address the demands of its people (Fars, July 17).
Meanwhile, the reformist daily E’temad called on the government of Iran to increase its involvement in solving the crisis in Syria. An editorial published by the daily said that Iran has to take a more proactive approach to the Syrian issue. Considering the popularity Iran enjoys with the government of Syria, it can play a constructive mediating role to resolve the crisis. Iranian diplomats should condemn the violence employed by both sides, which can make a political solution impossible. In addition, the Iranian government must strongly condemn the Western involvement in Syria’s affairs, which not only won’t help resolve the crisis, but exacerbate it further. Iran has to help align the demands of the dissidents with the Syrian government, offering them a way to break out of the dead end and put an end to violence (E’temad, July 18).