The Iran and Turan struggle - KEMAL ÖZTÜRK

The Iran and Turan struggle

If it was King İsmail that triumphed in the Battle of Chaldiran, which was one of the battles that changed the Islam world and the flow of history, rather than Sultan Selim, “The Stern”, then our lives today would have been different. The battles that happened in 1514, in other words 501 years ago, affected the belief, idea and demographic structure of the whole geography, rather than only two countries.


Iran and Turan's struggle


After the Battle of Chaldiran, two ancient and powerful countries of the region and Islam world never fought again nor changed their borders. However, these two stiff rivals always looked out for one another and had struggles between them that didn't come to light.

A Turkish diplomat was summarizing the situation as “The struggle of Iran and Turan”. Turkish foreign affairs continued it's diplomacy tradition from the old Turkish states until the Seljukians, Ottomans and the Republic. As for Iran; their diplomacy started from the Persian Empire, continued through the Safavid era and the era of Kings, and become completed with the Islamic Republic of Iran. As the latest representatives of two ancient and powerful civilizations, whose past dates back to thousands of years, both countries had always been active powers of the region.

The line represented by Turkey had supported the existence of all the flows and ideas under the Islam umbrella without making a sect preference until the Battle of Chaldiran. So much so that, it had been seen that the tradition of Shi'ite and Bektashism had been prevalent within the Ottoman army (even if they are not in the same sense and belief today). As for the Iran Safavid Empire; in an extremely sterile fashion, they constructed a Shi'ism belief away from Sunnism.

When Shi'ism and its derivatives started causing a disturbance and tumult within the Ottomans, only then Sultan Selim “The Stern” thought that war was inevitable. The Battle of Chaldiran, which had gone down in history as the biggest wound and sorrow of the Islam world, started because of this and had never been forgotten until now.


Shi'ite diplomacy


Iran's Shi'ite policy had never changed. Even though Iran continued their Persian diplomacy tradition, they always invested in the Shi'ite basin and used it as a political power. Maybe we should call this “Shi'ite Diplomacy”.

After the Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979, Imam Khomeini made an announcement, which would cause a critical cracking within the Shi'ite tradition, and wanted to start a new era by declaring that Shi'ites and Sunnis are siblings. There were always discussions over whether this was really a hypocrisy or a second revolution. However, Khamenei, who came after Khomeini, couldn't manage to continue Khomeini's words, even as a part of hypocrisy, and decided to export Shi'ism. The Iranian Revolution, which had been regarded as the revolution of the oppressed against the rich King and gathered great sympathy, started to pursue policies similar to that of the Safavid era as the years passed by. Thus, they have lost all their sympathizers that were not Shi'ites.


Iran has never been this much defiant


Iran's foreign policy has always been powerful and effective. However, they never put sect policies forth that much nor pursued an expansionist sectarian policy that would discomfort the Sunni world. Iran had never conducted such defiant and overt sectarianism in the past century. While they were even acting leery and cautious in supporting Lebanon's Hezbollah, following the civil war in Syria, they started in a way that exposed all their covered operations and policies. In a unique way in history, they have operational military power in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. While even Russia doesn't accept their own military existence in Ukraine and ask their soldiers to cover their faces, Iran doesn't hesitate from accepting that they have senior military executives and armed forces in Syria and Iraq.

While the Shi'ite sect had always hold on to secrecy, precaution and hypocrisy, today, Iranian generals are defiant enough to state that they possess a Shi'ite Empire that has 5 capitals.


Yemen might have a domino effect


I guess, the military coup of Houthis, supported by Iran, in Yemen was the most annoying one of the defiant moves. Because, nobody will allow Iran to capture Yemen that is equal to controlling the Red Sea, which possesses the most intense petroleum shipment.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest enemy of Iran, made a critical move and started an air strike against the Houthis supported by Iran. They actualized this attack by the support of 10 Arab countries. Even though Turkey, as a big gun in the region, did not give an operational support, for the first time, President Erdoğan had openly and sternly criticized Iran. What annoyed Erdoğan was the reflection of the Iran-Turan conflict that continued for centuries. By stating that Iran should end their expansionist policies, he revealed a traditional Ottoman reflex.

Maybe Turkey is even the only country that supported Iran in their difficult times. This policy, which is being pursued only for being an Islamic country and in order to avoid mixing other countries into regional issues, had ended with Erdoğan's statements. From now on, Iran is all alone in the Islam world. They have no other allies other than Russia, China and temporarily US.

Now, will the “Sunni Arab countries' coalition”, which started a military operation in Yemen, stop there? Or will the same coalition start an operation against the Iran expansionism and invasion in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon?

No matter what, the Islam world had taken a severe turn to a critical period. Regrettably, we should accept that we are right in the middle of a sect war. I don't think that Iran would risk war against such a big bloc. At this point, the attitude of Turkey, which has no sectarian bigotry and has sympathizers in every country, will have vital importance.

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