News

    Turkey's Role in Iran Nuclear Talks Could Diminish

    Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) and Iran's Chief Nuclear Negotiator Saeed Jalili pose for cameras before their meeting on Iran's nuclear program, in Istanbul, Turkey, April 13, 2012.
    Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) and Iran's Chief Nuclear Negotiator Saeed Jalili pose for cameras before their meeting on Iran's nuclear program, in Istanbul, Turkey, April 13, 2012.
    Dorian Jones

    The latest talks on Iran's controversial nuclear program, held in Istanbul April 14, were viewed as productive by the participants. But analysts say Turkey's role as a facilitator has weakened due to Iran's growing unhappiness with Turkish foreign policy, especially its call for regime change in Syria.  

    In the past, Turkey defended what it called Iran's peaceful nuclear energy program and even voted against U.N. sanctions on Iran two years ago. But Turkey's relationship with Iran has changed, as it began aligning itself with its Western allies on a series of issues.

    Richard Howitt is a member of the European Parliament's committee on Turkey. "Turkey has come back into line on Iran. Turkey really lost some trust on the Iran issue and suffered in public relations terms by its opposition to sanctions, which frankly we worked very hard for at the U.N. and EU," he said.

    A factor in Turkey's changing role is Syria, an important regional ally of Tehran.

    The once-warm relations between Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar al- Assad have deteriorated steadily over the past year due to Syria's violent crackdown on the opposition. The Turkish government's strong support for Syria's opposition has angered Iran.

    This was reflected last week when Iran tried to change the venue for the P5+1 talks away from Istanbul. Mr. Erdogan shot back with a terse statement saying "because of the lack of honesty, Iran is "continually losing its international prestige."

    In the end, Istanbul did host the talks, but Iran and the other parties agreed to hold another round in Baghdad next month.

    Soli Ozel at Turkey's Kadir Has University says that despite the chill in relations, Tehran still sees Ankara as being useful. "Iran still needs Turkey's good offices because it is the only country that really, really tries very hard for a political solution," he said.

    In addition, Turkey gets about 80 percent of its natural gas and more than half of its oil from Iran and Russia, a key Iranian ally.  And that, Ozel says, should reassure Iran that Turkey isn't about to make any rash moves.

    Some critics say Turkey may have lost its role as a facilitator on Iran's nuclear issue. But diplomatic correspondent Semih Idiz for the Turkish newspaper Milliyet says there still remains a potentially important future role for Ankara. "The Iran talks seem to be going sufficiently with their own steam. But when you read the small print, the sides are clinging to their positions. So if there is need for a country with clear and open channels with both sides, then possibly there is some role that  Turkey can play," he said.

    Iran's next meeting with the U.N. Security Council's five permanent members plus Germany will be in Baghdad in May.  

    The talks are expected to focus on the complex and difficult issues of persuading Tehran to agree to measures that will reassure the international community that Iran is not using its nuclear energy program to develop weapons.  

    Tehran has already called for an easing of international sanctions in exchange for such moves. Many analysts say reconciling the opposing demands is expected to be difficult.

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.