The COVID-19 pandemic dominated the year 2020, as the world encountered a great test on health care, economy and humanity. Several countries confiscated each other’s personal protective equipment (PPE) and went down in the history of shame. Against the backdrop of all the chatter about “the new normal” and “nothing will be the same again,” the truth is that power competition in the international system has escalated even further.
The wave of democratization, which began with the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, took down the authoritarian leaders of Egypt, Libya and Yemen. Whereas the uprising in Bahrain was crushed thanks to Saudi Arabia’s military intervention, Iran and Russia ensured the survival of Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria.
Iran's ruling elite has translated a poem that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recited in Baku, Azerbaijan, into political tension. While politicians made aggressive statements, Iranian media outlets accused the Turkish leader of pursuing a leadership role in the Muslim world and a policy of Ottomanism and pan-Turkism. Others claimed Ankara was fueling separatism in Iran, putting the country's territorial integrity at risk.