The Turkish foreign minister has openly urged Iran to “play its role as an underwriter of the ceasefire in Syria.” Mevlut Cavusoglu specifically demanded that Tehran rein in Shiite militiamen and the Lebanese Hezbollah and make them “stop violating” the ceasefire in Syria that was agreed on December28.

Iranian media also reported Cavusoglu’s feared that plans for an upcoming peace summit to be held in Kazakhstan could fall apart if “violations of the [existing] ceasefire are not stopped.”

Comment:  

Iranian-Turkish relations continue to be full of contradictory drivers. On the one hand, intense Iranian-Turkish completion for influence in the Syrian civil war has been the most notable characteristic in ties in the last 6 years. This trend will continue and Tehran is still opposed to Turkish military presence inside of Syria.

In this same time period, however, Iranian-Turkish economic and trade relations have gained considerable strength. This week, Iran’s influential Minister of Industry visited Ankara and there are reportedly discussions in place for the signing of a free trade agreement between the two countries. Despite huge levels of suspicion of each other, Tehran and Ankara appear unwilling to forego the considerable benefits of economic cooperation.