Turkey’s Erdogan: US sanctions on Iran wrong, will not abide by them

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that the US sanctions on Iran or wrong, and that Turkey will not abide by them. (File/AFP)
Updated 06 November 2018
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Turkey’s Erdogan: US sanctions on Iran wrong, will not abide by them

  • Washington has imposed two sets of sanctions this year after pulling out of a nuclear pact agreed between world powers
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country would “proudly bypass your illegal, unjust sanctions”

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday hit out at new sanctions on Iran imposed by the administration of President Donald Trump, saying they were aimed at upsetting the global balance and against international law.
Washington on Monday announced the sanctions on the Islamic Republic that aim to isolate the country’s banking sector and slash its oil exports. Turkey was one of eight countries exempted from the demand to stop buying Iranian oil.
“We don’t find the (Iran) sanctions appropriate,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency.
“Because to us, they are aimed at upsetting the global balance,” he added. “They are against international law and diplomacy. We don’t want to live in an imperial world.”
Erdogan’s comments came after his Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that isolating Iran was “dangerous.”
“While we were asking (for) an exemption from the United States, we have also been very frank with them that cornering Iran is not wise. Isolating Iran is dangerous and punishing the Iranian people is not fair,” he told a press conference during a trip to Japan.
“Turkey is against sanctions, we don’t believe any results can be achieved through the sanctions,” he added. “I think instead of sanctions, meaningful dialogue and engagement is much more useful.”
Washington has imposed two sets of sanctions this year after pulling out of a nuclear pact agreed between world powers and Iran that President Donald Trump slammed as “defective”.
The latest round went into effect on Monday.
Washington has granted eight countries, including Turkey and Japan, waivers to allow them to continue importing Iranian oil without facing diplomatic consequences.
Mainly Sunni Turkey has a complex relationship with Shiite Iran that has seen disputes notably on what Ankara has seen as moves for domination of Iraq by the majority Shia community.
But the two countries are also working closely on a host of issues, notably ending the conflict in Syria even though both Ankara and Tehran are in theory on opposite sides of the civil war. Iranian oil and gas exports are also crucial for resource-poor Turkey.
The new sanctions have sparked furious reactions from Iran, whose President Hassan Rouhani said the country would “proudly bypass your illegal, unjust sanctions”.
On Monday, Washington vowed to be “relentless” in countering Iran, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying the US wanted Iran to make a “180-degree turn” and abandon its “current revolutionary course”.


First Arab-EU summit billed as chance to cooperate in troubled region

Updated 43 min 51 sec ago
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First Arab-EU summit billed as chance to cooperate in troubled region

  • President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will host the two-day summit in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh
  • EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says the gathering is about much more than migration
CAIRO: European and Arab leaders are to hold their first summit Sunday, in what the top EU diplomat sees as a chance to boost cooperation across a troubled Mediterranean region.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will host the two-day summit in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss topics like security, trade, development and migration.
Wars and conflicts in places such as Syria and Libya are on the agenda at a summit guarded by the security forces who are fighting a bloody jihadist insurgency a short distance to the north.
But analysts voiced doubts over how much progress can be made, with Europe split over migration and Arab countries still grappling with the fallout from Arab Spring revolutions.
European leaders first mentioned the summit in Austria in September amid efforts to agree ways to curb the illegal migration that has sharply divided the 28-nation bloc.
But checking migration is only part of Europe’s broader strategy to forge a new alliance with its southern neighbors.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini insists that the gathering in Egypt of more than 40 heads of state and government is about much more than migration.
“We will have frank, open discussions, not only on migration, definitely not,” Mogherini told journalists in Brussels on Monday.
“We will have first of all discussions on our economic cooperation, on our common region,” she said.
“That is a troubled region but also full of opportunities.”
Attending will be Donald Tusk, president of the European Council of EU member countries, and Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm.
EU officials said 25 European heads of state and government will attend.
These include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who could also discuss the stalemate over Brexit on the sidelines.
Apart from El-Sisi, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri will attend from the 22-member Arab League, which is based in Cairo. It is not yet clear who else will be present.
A UN official warned that Europe’s failure to bridge divisions on migration “risks blocking all the other discussions” at the summit.
“How do you discuss an issue if you can’t even mention it!” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
He said EU countries like Hungary refuse to mention migration because they oppose asylum seekers and migrants, particularly from Muslim countries.
The EU has struck aid-for-cooperation agreements with Turkey and Libya’s UN-backed government in Tripoli, which has sharply cut the flow of migrants since a 2015 peak.
But the official said broader cooperation with the Arab League, which includes Libya, is limited without the EU being able to speak in one voice.
Marc Pierini, a former EU ambassador to Tunisia and Libya, said the summit will struggle “to establish a dialogue between two sides who are confronted with their own challenges.”
The meeting comes as “the Arab countries are still feeling the effects of the revolutions started in 2011,” Pierini told AFP.
“Arab League unity is in trouble,” said Pierini, now an analyst with the Carnegie Europe think tank.
With expectations low for EU-Arab progress, the focus may shift to EU efforts to break the logjam over Britain’s looming exit from the bloc on March 29.
Britain’s Philip Hammond said May would have an “opportunity” in Egypt to discuss Brexit with her EU counterparts who have balked at her requests for concessions to sell the divorce to her parliament.
But officials in Brussels and London have played down the prospect of a Brexit “deal in the desert” to try to ensure an orderly departure.