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

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    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.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.