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

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers 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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid