One Foreign Ministry official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, indicated that the talks were based on “political flexibility,” which creates room for political maneuvering for both sides.
“Turkey pointed to the importance of flexibility in creating a positive environment and that progress had been achieved due to that flexibility,” said the official.
Saturday's talks marked an important beginning for the continuation of dialogue between the two sides. Political observers claimed that the talks have broken the long-standing diplomatic deadlock stemming from the disputed Iranian nuclear program and that the way for further dialogue has been laid.
These talks were the first between the P5+1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council (United States, Russia, China, Britain and France) and Germany) and Iran in more than 14 months. İstanbul was the venue for the first round of talks in January 2011, but no breakthrough was achieved.
Another diplomat from the ministry expressed satisfaction that a schedule for further negotiations was decided upon in İstanbul. The source, also declining to be named, indicated the sides appealed for Turkey's assistance when a deadlock loomed during the talks.
The new round of talks is scheduled for Baghdad on May 23.
“We did not consider ourselves as a negotiator, but they deemed us a negotiator,” the diplomat said.
The same source also asserted that the fact the next round of talks are in Baghdad does not imply Turkey will be at arms length from the negotiation process; the sides will continue to utilize Turkey as a mediator.
“Turkey recommended that the Iranians engage in bilateral talks with the US delegation,” the diplomat added.
Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili only held a private talk with the Russian delegation during the İstanbul meeting.
A major breakthrough was not expected from Saturday's talks, but diplomats from both sides have stated that this was quietly different from the first one in a positive way due to a willingness to maintain diplomatic contact to solve the crisis.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, the representative of the P 5+1 and Jalili, held a press conference following the end of the talks, indicating the good intentions of both sides to solve the crisis was an important element of the constructive environment during the talks.
“The proposal we have is designed to put forth a framework for how we will go on. Our clear objective was learning whether Iran is serious, and we found today that this is the case,” said Ashton, adding that both sides agreed that a nuclear non-proliferation treaty was a “key basis” for further talks.
Mustafa Kibaroğlu, an expert on arms control and head of international relations at Okan University in İstanbul, claimed that the sides emphasized building confidence among themselves, rather than focusing on acquiring a final result for the nuclear talks.
“That no concrete outcome, such as a common agreement or a treaty, was achieved between the sides could be counted as a deficiency. But the process still proved successful, because the talks will be ongoing,” said Kibaroğlu.
Kibaroğlu claimed that the constant perception of an Israeli threat with regard to Iran's nuclear program has increased pressure on the Iranian government to open the way for the diplomatic process. He claimed that talks between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, focusing on Iran's continuing nuclear enrichment program, were instrumental in pushing Iran to the conference table.
Statements by Israeli officials that time is running out for sanctions to curb Tehran's atomic ambitions raised the possibility that Israel might launch pre-emptive strikes on Iran's nuclear sites.
Bayram Sinkaya, an expert on Iran politics and a lecturer in the department of international relations at Yıldırım Beyazıt University in Ankara, also claimed that both sides are satisfied with the results of the İstanbul talks, but that the real substance will be discussed in Baghdad.
Sinkaya noted that Iran's isolation in the region due to recent developments and the bite of US and EU sanctions was what brought Iran to the table.
“What made these talks different from the first round is the downward trend of Iran's regional power due to the Syrian issue at hand, particularly the increasing pressure on the Assad regime, which is its ally,” said Sinkaya.
He also maintained that Iran's latest compromise to put its nuclear program on the table could be explained as a gesture to the Obama regime before the upcoming elections in November because a diplomatic achievement on the issue could possibly help Obama's reelection bid.
“Obama's dialogue-oriented approach in solving regional problems is a blessing for Iran, enabling it to avoid more pressure on itself,” Sinkaya added.