Erdogan Says Iran a Strategic Partner

Erdogan Says Iran a Strategic PartnerErdogan Says Iran a Strategic Partner

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that severing relations with Turkey’s strategic partners is against his country’s understanding of sovereignty.

“Severing ties with our strategic global partners, who are just like the US to us, goes against our understanding of sovereignty. Iran is both our neighbor and our strategic partner. There are so many developments based on mutual benefit,” Erdogan said, Turkish daily Yeni Safak reported.

President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear pact with Iran and ordered new US sanctions on Tehran, while a senior state department official said Washington has told allies to cut imports of Iranian oil by November.

Turkey has criticized Trump's move to withdraw from the nuclear pact and has publicly resisted the US call to cut oil imports from Iran.

Erdogan asked Wednesday, “Who will heat my country throughout the winter?”

  Opposed to Sanctions

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that Ankara  has told American officials it opposes US sanctions on Iran and is not obliged to implement them.

"We do not have to adhere to the sanctions imposed on a country by another country. We don't find the sanctions right either," Cavusoglu told a news conference in Azerbaijan.

"We held meetings with the United States in Ankara and told them openly: Turkey gets oil and gas from Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and Iraq. If I don't buy from Iran now, where am I supposed to meet that need from?" Cavusoglu said.

Last week the US treasury and state department officials met Turkish counterparts in Ankara to discuss the sanctions on Iran. Ankara said authorities were working to prevent Turkey being hurt by the measures.

Turkey depends on imports for almost all of its energy needs. In the first four months of this year, Turkey bought more than 3 million tons of crude oil from Iran, almost 55% of its total crude supplies, according to data from the Turkish energy watchdog (EPDK).

Ties between Ankara and Washington, NATO allies, have been strained over a host of issues including several legal cases.

  Deepening Rifts

A Turkish court last week ruled to keep American pastor Andrew Brunson in jail, in a case that has deepened existing rifts and jeopardized the procurement of Lockheed Martin F-35 jets by Turkey.

The US Senate passed a bill last month including a measure that prohibits Turkey from buying the jets because of Brunson's imprisonment and Turkey's purchase of Russia's S-400 air defense system, which are incompatible with NATO systems.

Cavusoglu, however, said there were no issues with the procurement of the jets and the United States could not exclude Turkey from the project.

"The United States needs to understand that it is not possible to get a result from Turkey through sanctions. They will see results if they approach Turkey with dialogue and respect," he said.

"We will not bow down to such pressures, sanctions or threats. Everyone will get used to the new Turkey."


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