Muhammed Bahadır Gülle
Security, Middle East
A smart doctrine for U.S. strategy in the Middle East is "do not confront Turkey and Iran at the same time."
The United States Cannot Isolate Iran Without Turkey
The United States has increased its pressure on Iran to an unprecedented level by designating Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization, and by not extending the waivers for importing Iranian oil. Some saber rattling has also accompanied the tightening sanctions as well. This U.S. policy has the full support of U.S. allies in the Middle East, except for its only NATO ally in the region. Although the United States has made important moves toward isolating Iran, escalating tensions between the United States and Turkey can undermine those efforts.
The U.S.-Turkey alliance has been stuck in unremitting decline and deadlock in recent years. Turkey's increasing authoritarian turn is diverging it from the United States for the most part. Turkey brought down even the thin facade of democracy by annulling the recent election in Istanbul that was won by the opposition. Turkey’s decision to leaving the league of democracy while maintaining its traditional alliance with the United States and the West, in general, is a thorny dilemma; Ankara’s acquisition of the S-400s and other crises are the ramifications of changing priorities and values.