As part of my IR 315: Peace and Conflict Course I had students conduct a Risk of War analysis of a dangerous dyad according to the Simple Risk Barometer developed in Steps to War by Paul Senese and John A. Vasquez. In this series I will upload to the blog the ones I felt were the best. The goal is to show that with some training anyone can use Steps to War to get a handle on current events and the likelihood of war.
Contemporary paper with risks of war:
Even though it has soured on certain occasions since the Arab Spring, Iran and Turkey seems to enjoy generally peaceful relationship. Although lacking a common ideology regarding the region both nations reside in an idea of war between Turkey and Iran seems rather unlikely. Therefore i will use Paul Senese and John A. Vasquez’s framework of Steps to War in order to show
why Iranian-Turkish Dyad is a relatively peaceful one.
An important step in Steps to war is to look at differing factors effect on likelihood of war. This table shows how different factors impact likelihood of War in years between 1816 and 2000.
Following this table now we can focus on the Iranian-Turkish Dyad with a similar fashion regarding many
Following this table now we can focus on the Iranian-Turkish Dyad with a similar fashion regarding many different factors Turkey and Iran share. These factors include MID’s, Rivalry, disputes and alliances.
So by simply looking at these data it is rather easy to see that it is very unlikely that Iran and Turkey would ever go to war also it is important to note there are certain issues both nations cannot seem to agree upon.
Firstly and the most importantly Iran consistently buds heads with Turkey. Generally over Israel’s place in the middle east. As Iran and Israel is ever since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 relations of both nations deteriorated progressively and under the leadership Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Iran have become a power that opposes Israel and believe that it should be wiped off the map. Therefore Turkish relationship with Israel especially after normalisation period might come to a boiling point for both nations, even though it is very unlikely.
Second issue between Turkey and Iran in present day is Turkish support for Sunni rebels in Syrian Civil war. and During Yemeni civil war Turkish support for Sunni group can be seen as a part of rivalry of Iran and Turkey.
However even with potential reasons of war, it is actually rather easy to that Turkish- Iranian Dyad is relatively peaceful considering other dyads in the region. While on could obviously come up with situations where a dispute might escalate in to a bloody war it is important to realize there are also many reasons why both nations might want to resolve their problems diplomatically.
Both Iran and Turkey have been fighting insurgency movements from kurdish militants or terrorists ever since both nations have been formed. And considering that formation of a Kurdish state would not beneficial for Iran and Turkey, It is more likely that Countries would cooperate instead as a Iranian Turkish war might bring about a political environment that Kurds might acquire autonomy or even independence. Regardless of who would win in a war. it might set in motion events that might lead into a Kurdish state either through warfare or diplomatic concessions. That being said there is actually a collaboration between Turkey and Iran against Terrorism which could only be bolstered if there was a push for independence from the Kurdish side.
At this moment Turkey and Iran enjoy a fruitful trade. As trade between two countries have quadrupled since 2000. Both Nations are part of ECO following this, Iran and Turkey have agreements regarding the Persian pipeline that carry Iranian gas to Europe that pass over Turkey. Government officials from both sides have stated that they expect bilateral trade to increase and mutual friendship and ties to strengthen after the Iranian nuclear Programme deal. Also it is worth mentioning that both sides enjoy a significant amounts of Tourists from the other side.
Lack of Territorial Disputes:
Turkey and Iran have enjoyed a lack of territorial every since the beginning of 20th Century.
Moreover Turkish-Iranian border is the oldest border in the world which remained more or less the same every since the Treaty of Zuhab and formalized in 1932 therefore it is very unlikely that either Turkey or Iran would go against the status quo and attempt to claim territory.
With all of this information, it can be seen effortlessly that Turkish Iranian Dyad is a not a dangerous one due to many reasons that have been listed above. An escalation of war between Turkey and Iran would require a change in bilateral relations between two nations in a major way. Therefore a likelihood of war in this dyad is very unlikely, what i predict is more disagreement over
religious structure of middle east and more cooperation over Kurdish terrorism.