Since it was announced that Michael Pompeo, the head of the C.I.A., will travel to Turkey on February 9 to discuss the Syrian conflict with his Turkish counterparts, Iranian media have been speculating about the possible ramifications for Iran resulting from the visit. Iranian media have been mostly speculating that Pompeo’s focus while in Turkey will not be on the question of Iran but on the fate of the Fetullah Gulen and America’s relationship with militant Syrian Kurds such as People’s Protection Units (Y.P.G.), which Turkey considers to be a terrorist organization.
Comment: Despite periodic open attacks by Iranian officials on Turkish policies in Syria and Ankara’s often close policy coordination with Washington, Iranian media have largely only echoed the international coverage about the likely intentions behind Pompeo’s visit to Turkey. This, however, should not be seen as a lack of interest in Iran in the direction of Amercian-Turkish relations under President Trump.
Not only is Iran anxious about U.S.-Turkish cooperation in Syria, including the question of the creation of potential safe zones that Tehran opposes, but there is also a fear among Iranian officials that Turkey will facilitate for Iran's regional rivals – particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar – to play a bigger role in the future political talks on Syria's future. The latest sets of talks on Syria have been brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran as Tehran was insistent that the US and its Arab allies were kept out. Iranian fears of closer Turkish-U.S. coordination on Syria are exacerbated by the fact that Russia and the U.S. might also move closer on the Syrian issue, which all put together will seriously isolate Iran.