The Arms Control Association’s Kelsey Davenport summarizes a case made by a Turkish professor of international relations for Turkey to be included in the p5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany):
Despite the failure of the Tehran Declaration, Turkey’s experience negotiating with Iran lends strength to [Mustafa] Kibaroglu’s argument for Turkey’s inclusion. Ankara demonstrated it can work with Tehran. Additionally, in June 2010 Turkey was one of two countries that voted against UN Security Council Resolution 1929, which imposed sanctions on Iran for failing to comply with early resolutions regarding its nuclear program. Given the animosity spurred on by the current sanctions, Iran may be more willing to work with Turkey than the members of the P5+1.
In addition, Kibaroglu reminds us that Israel is not the only Middle Eastern country that would be threatened by Iran obtaining nuclear weapons and that other regional perspectives on the security environment need to be considered. According to him, a nuclear armed Iran would be the “game changer” that affects the relationship between the two countries and tips the balance of power in Iran’s favor.
While Turkish inclusion in the P5+1 may not be the creative solution that revives the negotiations with Iran, Kibaroglu’s recommendations serve as an important reminder that there is no “one size fits all” formula for diplomatic negotiations. If the current P5+1 track does not achieve a breakthrough, it does not mean that negotiations have failed. Rather, that it is time for diplomats to get creative and consider alternative options, such as exploiting the good offices of new parties, to find a solution to the Iranian nuclear question.
For assessing how Iran may respond to Turkey’s inclusion in the P5+1, read Iran expert Farideh Farhi’s recent analysis of Iran-Turkey relations.