Iran’s Press TV tweeted in English on Wednesday with a quote
from Turkey’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan: “Nuclear power should be
forbidden for all or permissible for all.” Press TV included an image of
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appearing to be sweating.
Iran’s message wasn’t a secret: the account tagged Erdogan and included the hashtag “#IsraelisExempt”. What is more secretive is the Iran-Turkey-Russia alliance that is emerging and illustrated via state-controlled media. RT, a Russian television network, similarly highlights the greatness of Turkey and Iran as part of a campaign that clearly indicates Moscow’s support for the two. On Wednesday, it tweeted about Iran showcasing its drone expertise amid tensions in the Gulf. It also shared images from Erdogan’s speech in which he slammed Israel. Russian news agency Sputnik similarly highlighted comments by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday morning. “Turkey will probably never buy American aircraft again,” Sputnik noted as well.
A quick look at TRT and Al Jazeera, which reflect the views of governments in Ankara and Doha, did not reveal such strong praise for Russia and Iran. This means that in general, Tehran and Moscow appear to be using their media arms to curry favor with Turkey as part of a regional strategy aimed at a Turkey-Russia-Iran triumvirate or alliance. This alliance is positioned to upset the regional balance of power and has already been cemented through the Astana process to discuss Syria and the post-Syrian civil war era.
Initially, Russia and Iran were on one side of the Syrian civil war and Turkey on the other side, to the extent that in 2015, there were theories that they might come into conflict over Syria. But over time, things changed.
Turkey became closer to Russia – seeing a potential dealmaker that could be trusted, and finding a warm ear in Moscow when Turkey broached the subject of taking over parts of northern Syria, including Afrin.