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Turco-Iranian Alignment in the Post-Arab Spring : A Neorealist Assessment of Alignment Formation and Strategies

Kang, William (Sogang University, Graduate School of International Studies)

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The puzzle today is the current thawing and alignment between Turkey and Iran, given the situation that both have been at odds over Syria. Given this current state of affairs, this thesis answered the following research questions: What is the nature of the Turco-Iranian alignment? Did Turkey and Ira...
The puzzle today is the current thawing and alignment between Turkey and Iran, given the situation that both have been at odds over Syria. Given this current state of affairs, this thesis answered the following research questions: What is the nature of the Turco-Iranian alignment? Did Turkey and Iran align to balance or bandwagon? This thesis demonstrates that Turco-Iranian alignment is in response to external threats more than power alone. Balance-of-power theory and balance-of-threat theory were adopted in order to test the puzzle and answer the research questions. By adopting these two theories this thesis aims to explain the better possible explanation for Turco-Iranian alignment. This thesis compared both theories to verify their explanatory powers and this thesis finds that balance-of-threat theory is the convincing explanatory theory. Two hypotheses were asked: Whether Turkey and Iran aligned to balance U.S. power or whether Turkey and Iran aligned to bandwagon with the greatest threat? This thesis finds that Turco-Iranian alignment’s motivating factor was to Iran bandwagoning with the U.S. and that the evidence for balancing was flimsy. Keywords: Turkey, Iran, U.S., Alignment, Unipolarity, Balancing, Bandwagoning