News / Middle East

Turkey May Be Key to Expanding Western Sanctions Against Iran

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (r) and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe in Istanbul, Nov. 17, 2011
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (r) and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe in Istanbul, Nov. 17, 2011
Dorian Jones

As the West mulls more sanctions on Iran's disputed nuclear program, analysts say the success of the penalties could depend on Turkey's involvement. The diplomatic press for more sanctions will accelerate with the French foreign minister's visit to Ankara, which started Thursday.

Along with the deepening crisis in Syria, sanctions against Iran for its nuclear ambitions are expected to be key areas of discussion in French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe's meetings this week with the Turkish president and other officials.

World powers gathering at the United Nations nuclear watchdog meeting in Vienna Thursday expressed "deep and increasing concern" that Iran is using its nuclear program to develop military weapons. Iran maintains its program is peaceful.

Despite the denials by Tehran, Western pressure is growing for a new wave of tough economic sanctions against Iran. Iran watcher Mehrdad Emadi of the London-based consultancy firm Beta Matrix says the success of any new measures depends on Turkish cooperation, especially in policing Turkish trade with Iran.

"Regionally we could not overestimate the role Turkey can play in making sanctions more effective, more transparent, and prevent sanction-busting behavior by Turkish businesses and Turkish middlemen and Iranian business agents," said Emadi.

But Ankara has steadfastly refused to enforce European Union or U.S. measures against Iran, saying it is only bound by U.N. sanctions. Financial considerations put Turkey in a difficult diplomatic position, says international relations expert Soli Ozel of Kadir Has University.

"It's dependent on Iranian gas for 20 percent of its needs," said Ozel. "And it needs Iran in order to get its trucks through to Central Asia...But it will be hard pressed to resist the allies' pressure."

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a reluctant backer of sanctions, saying their impact hurts common folk most, rather than governments. But with Mr. Erdogan expected to soon announce Turkish sanctions against Syria over its deadly crackdown on government opposition, it appears Ankara is taking a place on the sanctions stage.

Murat Bilhan, an international relations expert at Kultur University, is a former head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry's department on strategic thinking. He says Turkey will be less resistant to Western overtures on sanctions if it is approached with respect.

"Turkey is not a country to be taken for granted," said Bilhan. "It should be consulted at each level. The problem in the past has been, Turkey has been taken for granted."

To that end, observers say diplomatic traffic to Ankara is expected to be intense in the coming days as the push to sanction Iran expands.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs