Middle East Russia

State media in Iran, Russia indicate growing Russia-Iran-Turkey alliance

Written by Seth J. Frantzman

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.

Read more at The Jerusalem Post

About the author

Seth J. Frantzman

Seth J. Frantzman is Oped Editor and Middle East affairs analyst at The Jerusalem Post. He has covered the war against Islamic State, three Gaza wars, the conflict in Ukraine, the refugee crises in Eastern Europe and also reported from Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Senegal, the UAE, Ukraine and Russia. Born in Maine, he received his Ph.D from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2010. He previously served as a research associate at the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya and a lecturer in American Studies at Al-Quds University. Currently he is the Executive Director of The Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis and a Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum. Frantzman has conducted research and worked for the JDC, The Shalem Center, the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies and as a Post-Doctoral at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was a Congressional intern for Congressman Jim Kolbe while studying at The University of Arizona. A contributor to Defense News, The National Interest and the Digest of Middle East Studies. His current interests include regional security, Kurdish issues, refugees, the history of the Holy Land, the Beduin and land laws. As a features writer and commentator on current affairs and politics he attempts to provide new views on old canards, reflected in his column's name, Terra Incognita. He is the author of 'After ISIS: America, Iran and the Struggle for the Middle East' (Gefen Publishing 2019).

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