Iran and Turkey, two Middle Eastern nations that have been proven to be anti-Western and thus part of the Islamist ideology (although Turkey has all but become Islamist). Both nations have governments that are strife with anti-Semitic (and hence anti-Israeli) sentiment — something that is not new throughout the Muslim, world, even if such feelings did fade away at times.
In order to examine how both nations go to be where they are now, let’s turn the clock back to the early Twentieth Century.
After World War I, Turkey (formerly the Ottoman Empire) became a secular nation, even abolishing the caliphate. Iran during this time was known as Persia, and it remained neutral during the First World War.
Both Iran and Turkey were neutral during World War II, although both of them were sympathetic to Nazi Germany (or, in the case of Iran, anti-Soviet, since Soviet troops were stationed in Iran during the war — as were British soldiers). It should be noted that after the Nazis came to power in Germany Persia changed its name to Iran since the name was similar to the word “Aryan”, the term applied to the race that the Nazis claimed to be.
In the aftermath of World War II, Iran and Turkey were on the Soviets’ radar, due to the Soviets wanting to spread communism across the globe but also because both nations were sympathetic to Nazi Germany, although the Soviets did withdraw their troops. As a result, the United States came to the aid of both countries. In the case of Iran, the United States supported a military coup in 1953 against the nationalist government under Mohammad Mosaddiq (who became prime minister in 1951) and implemented a pro-Western government, with pro-western Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi remaining head of state.
But in 1979, the Shah was overthrown in Iran’s Islamic Revolution (courtesy of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini) and Iran became an Islamic Republic, and its goal was to spread the Islamic Revolution across the globe, which it is still trying to do to this day.
Meanwhile, the Soviet Union sent twelve army divisions to the Soviet-Turkish border after the Turks closed the Dardanelles to Soviet ships in the aftermath of World War II. The United States responded by sending warships into the area, thus forcing the Soviets to withdrew its troops. Turkey has remained secular in the subsequent decades, even experiencing military coups to keep it secular. But under the Erdogan regime, Turkey is now falling into the Islamist camp, even forging closer ties with Iran.
So now both Iran and Turkey are looking to be the dominant powers in the Middle East. Time will tell how successful they will be.