As the municipal election campaign gained momentum with the unveiling of mayoral candidates and the fine-tuning of their campaigns, two major developments took place in foreign policy: the Turkish Parliament’s approval of Sweden’s NATO admission on Tuesday and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to the Turkish capital, where Türkiye and Iran signed 10 agreements.
After Sweden's NATO membership was approved in the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM), reports emerged that President Biden sent a letter to Congress seeking approval for the sale of F-16s. These developments indicate that we are nearing the conclusion of the long-debated F-16 issue. If the sale goes through, it could somewhat alleviate the deep-seated distrust that has plagued Turkish-American relations for some time. This distrust has made what should have been a routine arms deal between two NATO allies such a contentious process. Overcoming this hurdle would be beneficial for both countries, but it's still too early to declare the start of a new era. The potential sale of F-16s could pave the way for a new chapter by reducing mutual distrust.
Traditionally, Türkiye-Iran relations have been defined by a mix of competition and cooperation. Sharing a long land border and possessing a multidimensional historical depth, numerous dynamics simultaneously affect the relationship between the two countries.
Against the backdrop of Israel's massacre in Gaza, attention has been shifting to Iran. Following the bombardment of the Houthis by the United States and the United Kingdom for disrupting commercial shipping in the Red Sea, Iran and Pakistan experienced an escalation, with both sides firing missiles over terrorism. Moreover, Israel killed five members of the Revolutionary Guards Corps in Damascus last weekend, resuming its past operations against the Iranian presence in Syria. The seeming purpose of such strikes is to stop Iran from sending military aid to the Axis of Resistance – namely Hezbollah and Hamas. More important, however, is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's commitment to ensuring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict's regionwide spillover – which contradicts the Biden administration.
The campaign rhetoric heats up with the municipal elections less than 70 days away. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Good Party's (IP) narratives promise to challenge the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).