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Inheriting a legacy of imperial competition, the Turkey-Iran rivalry today manifests itself through the contest for leadership of the Arab Middle East, and Muslim hearts and minds more generally. The authors contend that Turkey and Iran’s relationship transcends the boundaries of amity or enmity that traditionally define actors in the modern Middle East state system. Rather, Ankara and Tehran have been able to successfully compartmentalize elements of their rivalry while strengthening bilateral ties and expanding areas of economic cooperation. The authors posit that the present-day Turko-Iranian relationship falls in the category of neither friend nor enemy, but rather that of frenemy.

CONTRIBUTOR
Merve Tahiroğlu
Merve Tahiroğlu

Merve Tahiroglu is a research analyst focusing on Turkey at FDD.

Behnam Ben Taleblu
Behnam Ben Taleblu

Behnam Ben Taleblu is an Iran Research Analyst at Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), located in Washington, D.C.

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From the Desk of the Editor During the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals and governments across the globe have been reminded of the value of human life and the delicacy of human psychology. Societies have been forced to conform to governments’ speedy decisions to prevent the spread of the virus, and individuals—from the most vulnerable to the most well-off —were forced to self-isolate. The isolation...
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