The Shifting Dynamics of Turkey and Iran: A Potential Alliance in the Making?

Ali Alavi

Hatched by Ali Alavi

Jun 14, 2024

4 min read


The Shifting Dynamics of Turkey and Iran: A Potential Alliance in the Making?


The recent attack by Hamas on Israel has disrupted the fragile regional order in the Middle East. As the United States dispatches troops to bolster defenses and tensions rise, the attack has brought attention to the potential alliance between Turkey and Iran. While both countries have ties with Hamas, their approach differs. Turkey sees Hamas as part of the Palestinian resistance, while Iran provides comprehensive support. This shared interest in Hamas, along with other overlapping concerns, has the potential to bring Turkey and Iran closer together. However, there are limitations to this emerging alliance, including Turkey's NATO membership and the potential clash between their competing regional policies.

Shared Ties with Hamas:

Turkey's ruling party, AKP, does not consider Hamas a terrorist organization and has provided support, considering it part of their defense of the Palestinian cause. However, Turkey has distanced itself from Hamas in recent years to repair relations with Arab states and Israel. On the other hand, Iran provides political, economic, and military support to Hamas. The recent conflict in Gaza has highlighted the limits of Turkey's efforts to mediate, while Iran has taken advantage of growing anti-Israeli sentiment in the Muslim world.

Common Interests in Syria and the South Caucasus:

Both Turkey and Iran are disturbed by the presence of the United States in Syria. Turkey sees the U.S.'s support for Kurdish groups as a threat to its efforts to prevent Kurdish autonomy. Iran, on the other hand, challenges the U.S. presence in Syria to protect its land access to the country. Additionally, Turkey and Iran have shown interest in shaping regional dynamics in the South Caucasus, particularly in their opposition to the Zangezur corridor and willingness to replace it with a route passing through Iran.

Converging Assumptions about a Changing World Order:

Both Turkey and Iran share the belief that the Western-dominated international order is declining. Turkey criticizes the structure of the UN Security Council and demands an international order that treats every nation equally. Iran also seeks to shift away from Western-dominated structures and strengthen ties with emerging powers. This convergence in their assumptions about a changing world order provides a basis for potential cooperation.

Toward an "Axis of Revisionism"?:

The events since the Hamas attack have created an opening for various revisionist actors, including Turkey and Iran, to close ranks. The disillusionment with Western support for Israel and the perceived dysfunction of international institutions pave the way for potential cooperation. Hamas leaders' visit to Moscow and discussions between Turkish and Iranian officials further indicate the possibility of an "Axis of Revisionism." However, there are limitations to this alliance, including Turkey's NATO membership and the potential clash between their regional policies.

Limitations and Future Outlook:

Turkey's NATO membership and concerns about non-state allies in Syria and Iraq limit the potential for a sustained alliance between Turkey and Iran. The common threat posed by the U.S. may overshadow their competing interests for now, but their rivalry for regional influence will resurface once a new order prevails. Additionally, the commitment of other revisionist actors, such as Russia and China, is not guaranteed. Overall, while Turkish and Iranian interests align in opposing Israel's actions and a U.S.-led regional order, the long-term sustainability of their alliance remains uncertain.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Strengthen Diplomatic Relations: Turkey and Iran should continue their diplomatic efforts to address their competing interests and potential clashes in areas like Iraq and Syria. Open communication channels can help prevent misunderstandings and foster cooperation.
  • 2. Develop Multilateral Initiatives: Both countries should explore opportunities for multilateral initiatives, such as the 3+3 proposal for the South Caucasus, to address regional challenges without the intervention of trans-regional and Western powers.
  • 3. Expand Economic Cooperation: Enhancing economic ties between Turkey and Iran can provide a solid foundation for their alliance. Joint investment projects and increased trade can promote mutual benefits and strengthen their partnership.


The recent Hamas attack on Israel has brought Turkey and Iran closer together, as their shared interests and concerns align. While limitations exist, including Turkey's NATO membership and competing regional policies, the potential for an alliance between the two countries cannot be ignored. By strengthening diplomatic relations, developing multilateral initiatives, and expanding economic cooperation, Turkey and Iran can work towards a more sustainable partnership. As the dynamics in the Middle East continue to evolve, it remains to be seen whether this potential alliance will thrive or face challenges in the long term.

Ali Alavi

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