A Meeting to Boost Relations among Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan
Date of publication : April 5, 2016 17:52 pm
The fourth trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan was held in northern Iranian city of Ramsar on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. The meeting at such a tumultuous time with high tensions in the region can be taken as a good omen and a sign of the existence of diplomacy and lasting multilateralism. In fact, it proves Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan have reached that degree of understanding and maturity to sit together and continue their consultations on various issues in order to engage in cooperation with one another within this framework.
It seems the most important aspect of such meetings should be seen in the field of economic ties. The geopolitical position of Iran, Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan is such that in order to boost their economic development, these three countries have no choice but to cooperate with each other. Iran is a gateway to the East and Central Asia for the Republic of Azerbaijan and Turkey, while Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan play the same role for Iran's access to Europe and Eurasia. Iran is also situated between Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan and can facilitate cooperation and contacts between Baku and Ankara.
Increased cooperation on east-west and north-south transit corridors can have many benefits for all countries involved in these projects, but it should be kept in mind that if Iran, Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan define a clear order and regular arrangements for their various economic sectors within framework of such trilateral meetings, since all these countries are member of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), this aspect of their cooperation can be further expanded within the framework of the ECO and the OIC. If done, this will in turn give new blood to efforts made to promote regional cooperation and multilateralism, and energize these organizations’ activities.
As economic restrictions on Iran have been over, the Islamic Republic can engage in economic cooperation with other countries with more ease and higher capacity. Therefore, the Islamic Republic has now more room to engage in economic ties and trade exchanges, and this issue has paved the way for more extensive cooperation among Tehran, Baku and Ankara. On the other hand, there exist profound cultural, historical, religious and language ties among the Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan and this issue has caused relations and cooperation among their nations and governments to be quite close over the past decades. This, in addition to the rising threat of terrorism, extremism and violence, can further encourage them to actively engage in joint security efforts.
In sum, increase in regional cooperation, promotion of multilateralism, and development of economic and cultural relations can be considered as the most important and primary outcomes of the trilateral meeting among Iran, Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan, which can pave the way for reduction of differences and further expansion of cooperation and relations among the three countries. Such a trilateral meeting could open a new chapter in regional cooperation and diplomacy.
Bahram Amirahmadian, an assistant professor at University of Tehran, is the senior fellow at The IRAS Institute.
This article first appeared in Iran Review
Author : Bahram Amirahmadian