Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been tough to predict during his many years in power. He has encouraged the spread of Islam throughout the West and even been accused of doing business with ISIS, and now he is apparently currying favor with Iran as Turkey has announced their support of the Iranian regime in the Syrian proxy war that is currently being waged. This puts crucial US allies on both sides of the conflict.
Following the announcement that Trump was terminating the Iran deal, Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said: “We will continue to have trade with Iran while complying with the UN resolutions on nuclear activities.”
He followed that up with an even more emphatic endorsement of the Iranian regime as they go up against the Israelis in Syria.
“We believe in this: The stronger Iran gets in this region, the stronger Turkey becomes as well, and the stronger Turkey becomes, the stronger Iran gets as well,” Zeybekci said.
Iran is allied with the Syrian government as well as Russia while they are fighting the rebel groups trying to overthrow the Syrian government, which are propped up by Israel and US forces. Turkey was enraged by US support of the Kurds in Syria, which may have spurred their decision to support Iran in the midst of this ongoing sectarian strife.
Zeybekci also talked about the strength of the Turkish economy during a meeting at the Anadolu Agency’s Editors’ Desk in the Turkish capital of Ankara, which he boasts has a GDP of $900 billion.
“It is obvious that Turkey sustained a certain degree of damage by the movements of [global] financial markets but no one should expect [Turkey] to be devastated, to be extremely affected in terms of economy,” he said.
Zeybekci also wants to strengthen the Turkish currency, the lira, and increase its usage amongst the Turkish people in order to improve the nation’s economic stability.
“If you are dependent on foreign currencies, such as dollar and euro, you will be vulnerable to speculative movements. Therefore, our work on this is rapidly progressing.”
With the ruthless Islamist Erdogan at the helm of the country, Turkey will be a formidable force in the Middle East and the world for many years to come. The United States will ultimately decide whether to support their Turkish allies or their Israeli allies in the current Syrian conflict – or to just get out of the messy and confusing situation altogether.