Geopolitical Consequences of Expanding China-Turkey Relations on Iran (Case Study: Interconnecting "Middle Corridor" and "Belt and Road" Project)

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 M.A of Political Science, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor of Political Science, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

Extended Abstract
Introduction
Commercial routes play an important role in the geopolitical position of countries. Meanwhile, Turkey has always been known as the bridge between Asia and Europe, and part of the ancient Silk Road, the most profitable trade route, has passed through the country in the past. In recent years, Turkey's geopolitical position has become a valuable tool in realizing China's belt and road project and connecting it to Europe; in addition, the Turkish government has unveiled a plan in recent years called the "Middle Corridor." Its aim is to encourage the Turkic-speaking people of Northwest Asia to further engage and interact with each other and strengthen the sense of regional ownership. The project, which will connect Asia to Europe, will reduce Iran's geopolitical capacity for trade with Europe and will increase Turkey's regional power from a geopolitical perspective. From the other hand, After the end of the Cold War, Iran showed a desire for a new direction in foreign policy, known as the "look to the East. With this in mind, it seemed the “Look to the East” policy can only serve Iran’s national interests if it can remove any kind of dependence on the West and enforce a balanced foreign policy that could also widen Iran's foreign policy options. From this point of view, the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is unable to make institutionalized relations with the West, adopt a strategic and long-term approach towards Eastern actors such as China and plan to integrate agenda to propel the foreign policy in line with this objective. Iran also tries to tie itself into surging flow of development and integrity in the East. This article shows that, linking China's Belt and Road project with Turkey Middle Corridor project would be similar to US geopolitical neutralization of Iran and versus Iran's geopolitical position and “Look to the East” policy.
Methodology
In present study, Case study research is a methodology which can take either a qualitative or quantitative approach. Case study in this article refers to the in depth analysis of some facts about “Middle Corridor” and China's “Belt and Road”. In addition, Data were collected by four methods: individual interviews, survey on formal reports and news study, documentation collection and study the related Books and journals in Chinese, English and Persian languages. Data analyses was based on describe-analysis
Discussion and conclusion
The efforts of regional and supra-regional powers to limit and neutralize Iran's geopolitics, especially over the past two decades, have always been unprecedented. The most important of these efforts are US investment in Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, Middle East and West of Asia is considered as one of the most important areas for China's presence and influence in international affairs. in such a situation, China's economic role in the West Asian region and Turkey's development program in recent years has led to the expansion of Beijing-Ankara relations, which could pose a new threat to Iran. As this article shows, Iran's geopolitical neutralization of the Asian continent's connection to Europe and Iran's deprivation of its geopolitical position are among the consequences of the expansion of Beijing-Ankara relations. In other words, Turkey, which has influence in most of Iran's peripheral regions such as Azerbaijan, Central Asia and the Caucasus, could reduce Iran's geopolitical importance in the medium and long term if it expands ties with China. On the other hand, given Turkey's advantages, especially its better economic situation compared to Iran, as well as Turkey's better relations with the United States, China can expand its economic relations with Ankara more than before.
According to this scenario, cooperation between Iran and China will remain limited and there's not a great chance for Iran to expand relations with China. This scenario will be caused, threat and at least opportunity for Iran, and Iran's position in China's foreign policy will be reduced. Moreover, Iran's rivals will be able to find a better place in the region

Keywords


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Volume 17, Issue 62
June 2021
Pages 119-148
  • Receive Date: 05 April 2020
  • Revise Date: 25 May 2020
  • Accept Date: 20 June 2020
  • First Publish Date: 23 July 2021