News / Europe

    Turkey Resists US Sanctions Against Iran Despite US Envoy Visit

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (R) and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns speak after the Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan in Istanbul, Turkey, November 2011. (file photo)
    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (R) and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns speak after the Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan in Istanbul, Turkey, November 2011. (file photo)
    Dorian Jones

    U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns is visiting close ally Turkey to further press international sanctions against Iran over its controversial nuclear energy program. However, Ankara remains opposed to the new U.S.-led measures.

    Although Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has ruled out enforcing new U.S.-led sanctions against Iran, American envoy William Burns is in Ankara trying to change Turkey's mind. Turkey enforces United Nations measures against Iran, but refuses to join other sanctions pushed by the U.S. and the European Union.

    Semih Idiz, who writes for the Turkish newspaper Milliyet, said Burns is the latest in a string of high-level American officials to visit Turkey.  

    "Turkey has made it clear it's against sanctions on Iran. So now we see Washington actively lobbying Turkey at the highest level. This adds pressure on Turkey, of course. But it doesn't resolve Turkey's dilemma of having to tread a cautious line between these two sides," said Idiz.

    Turkey claims Iranians will face undue economic hardship if it complies with additional U.S. sanctions that target Iran's energy sector.

    But Turkish companies also are profiting from Ankara's resistance, said Turkey-Iran expert Mehrdad Emadi.

    "This importance has gained momentum in the last 16 months, where some of the trade from the United Arab Emirates has been diverted to Turkey because the United Arab Emirates has come under pressure from European Union and American authorities," said Emadi.

    Turkish banks are benefiting, as well. They transfer as much as a billion dollars a month to Tehran. The Turkish state-controlled Halkbank is facilitating payment for Iran's oil exports, in particular from India. The bank, having no offices in the United States, is largely immune to any U.S. punishment for violating Washington's sanctions.

    International relations expert Sol Ozel of Kadir Has University said Turkey is siding with its banks.

    "There has been a lot of pressure by American treasury on Turkey to stop that. But Halkbank is a state bank. Therefore, obviously Turkey is resisting to cooperate, which suggests Turkey wishes to continue to play this dual game of aligning itself increasingly with United States," said Ozel.

    Despite the divide over economics and trade, Turkish and U.S. policies across the region are increasingly converging. Ankara last year agreed to participate in a NATO missile defense system aimed at Iran. The move was widely seen as an important sign of Ankara's allegiance to its Western allies and against its Iranian neighbor.

    Turkish diplomatic correspondent Idiz said neither the U.S. nor Turkey has an interest in a falling-out over Iran sanctions.

    "The American side I don't think will want to go [into] any kind of confrontation mode with Turkey at such a delicate moment in the region when it's just pulled out of Iraq and the situation with Iran is escalating and the situation in Syria is ongoing. So I think there will be some balancing of interests and arriving at certain understanding. They are more in need of each other than squabbling over these issues," said Idiz.

    Ankara is pressing for a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program. Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu said after visiting Tehran last week that Turkey could host an international gathering to resolve the crisis.

    Observers say there is little optimism, though, for a breakthrough. That means pressure for further international sanctions on Iran from Turkey's Western allies is likely to continue, along with pressure on Ankara to enforce them.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora