News / Europe

    Turkish Foreign Minister Tries to Defuse Iran Nuclear Tensions

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu underlined his country's opposition to growing calls for tougher sanctions against Iran, during a visit to Tehran.  There is a growing division between Turkey and its Western allies over Iran.

    Tehran is just the latest leg in Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's ongoing diplomatic efforts to defuse rising tensions over Iran's nuclear energy program.  Much of the international community suspects that program of being used to build a nuclear bomb, a charge denied by Tehran.  

    After meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Davutoglu stressed again his country's support of Iran.

    He said Turkey is continuing to work to stop unwanted developments that could hurt Iran, Turkey, and the entire region.  He said Turkey will try its best to see what it can do for the "nuclear fuel swap" proposal.

    The nuclear swap is a proposal to Tehran that includes reprocessing Iran's nuclear material, making it unusable for weapons.  While not outright rejecting it, the Iranian government has refused to accept the offer.  

    Despite growing pressure for new tougher sanctions against Tehran, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is resolute in opposing them, saying they are unnecessary and they do not work.  A stance he reiterated while attending a nuclear summit last week in Washington.  

    During the visit, Mr. Erdogan said he is not alone.

    He says there may be other countries that may share our thoughts.  He said our whole efforts are to move this process democratically and solve this problem diplomatically.

    Mr. Erdogan is referring to Brazil, which like Turkey is a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.  Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu visited Brazil last week to discuss the country's stance towards Iran.

    Observers say Brazil, with its substantial Iranian trade ties, especially in mining and energy, also has reservations over new sanctions.  Brazil's president, Lula da Silva, is expected to visit Tehran next month.

    Building strong political ties

    New sanctions on Iran could also hurt Turkey's economy.  Next to Russia, Iran is Turkey's largest supplier of gas.

    The deepening economic dependancy is an indication that Ankara may be ready to stand up to its allies over Iranian sanctions, according to political scientist Nuray Mert of Istanbul University.

    "I was inclined to think that at the end of the day Turkey will join the club when it comes to realization of these sanctions because its inevitable," he said. "But nowadays, I can see the government is planning to avoid these sanctions.  Because now we have Turkey signing a lot of economic agreements, against the policy of sanctions."

    Turkey's ruling AK party, with its Islamic roots, has worked hard to build strong political ties with its Iranian neighbor.  Prime Minister Erdogan refers to the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a friend.  He stood by President Ahmadinejad after his contentious election victory last year.  

    Tough choice

    But despite such friendly relations, political columnist Akif Emre says Turkey being a NATO member and bidding to join the European Union means in any show down Ankara will not abandon its Western allies.

    "A difficult choice, yes, but Turkish government does not want to prefer this choice," he said. "But first of all would try to keep balance, but Turkish government will choose the Western bloc because Turkish ties with the Western block is very strong.  Yes, Iran we are neighbors, but political , military, and economic ties with the Western bloc are very strong.  So Turkish state and government see this reality."

    Political scientist Cengiz Aktar of Istanbul's Bahcesehir University says the ambiguity in Turkey's position on new Iranian sanctions is untenable. "I mean this is not the first time, unfortunately Turkey, through especially its foreign policy, is in total contradiction with its allies," he said.  

    "So it is being in permanent contradiction with the international community.  Actually the [foreign] minister thinks Turkey can make it alone, by having its own position.  But I think this is a pipe dream.  One cannot have double- or triple-track policy when it comes to international matters after all," he added.

    Turkish foreign policy has led critics to accuse the Turkish government of realigning the country from its traditional Western orientation, to the East, a charge Turkish leaders strongly deny.

    You May Like

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    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 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 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 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.