Sanctions against Iran are not the right way of resolving issues surrounding the Islamic republic, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview with Al Arabiya’s Point of Order program aired on Friday.
Davutoglu said that despite a U.N. security council resolution of sanctions against Iran, additional or unilateral sanctions imposed by Turkey are unnecessary and not needed.
Instead, he said if Iran makes enough progress after the nuclear talks to be held in Turkey, sanctions against the Islamic republic can be revised.
On Thursday, Turkey called for an immediate resumption of talks between Iran and major world powers and said both sides have expressed willingness to try to end the standoff over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program as the European Union envoys failed to agree on details of a planned embargo on Iranian crude.
Davutoglu described the resumption of the nuclear talks as separate from the Strait of Hormuz issue for which Iran has threatened to close if the West emboldens sanctions or launches any form of strikes against it. But on Thursday, Iran seemed to backtrack on its confrontationist statement saying that never in its history had Tehran tried to close the narrow and strategic waterway ̶ a chokepoint for one fifth of the world’s traded oil.
In November, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) summarized its body of information in a 13-page document drawing on 1,000 pages of intelligence. It stated then for the first time that some of the alleged experiments can have no other purpose than developing nuclear weapons, but some analysts said the document does not carry sufficient evidence.
Risks post Arab Spring
There are many risks in “our neighborhood” said Davutoglu especially after the Arab Spring, all of which Turkey has discussed with Iran in a “very frank manner”.
He said Turkey is against any polarization based on ethnicity or sectarian differences in the region, and encourages secular ruling.
According to the foreign minister, what happened in Syria, at least initially, was not sectarian in nature but the result of what was happening in countries hit by the Arab Spring; that people were demanding more of a representative democratic country. While he cited the existence of “certain circles” that may exploit sectarianism in the region, he said intellectuals, and smart leaders should try to prevent such conflicts.
Syria’s problem he said is not sectarianism but the conflict between an autocratic regime and people wanting more representation and freedom, but he said the problem can be transformed into a sectarian conflict.
Cold war structure still looming
The Turkish foreign minister also gave his analysis about the region, saying that despite the end of the Cold War and the downfall of Soviet rule, a Cold War-like structure continued in the Middle East.
“The one party government is the legacy of the Cold War,” he said.
The foreign minister said that Istanbul is playing a neutral role in the crisis, even though it has given the Syrian National Council a platform to hold meetings or Syrian defected soldiers a safe haven in Turkey.
He added that talks with Iran and Russia are taking place to urge the Syrian regime to stop the killing.
When asked about the Syrian response to its requests, he said: “They also do not agree with the method [Assad’s regime crackdown] … We think it is a time of change, it is about implementing change as soon as possible, so we do not lose more Syrian brothers and sisters.”
He said if the regime continues to kill protesters, it won’t be a Turkish issue but an international one necessitating a U.N. intervention. Turkey had called for the U.N. to intervene and protect the Kurds when Saddam Hussein went on in a killing spree against the Kurds during the Halabcha incident during the 1980s.
If the Arab League initiative is not successful and the killing continues, Turkey won’t hesitate to support a U.N. resolution to intervene in Syria.
“If there is hierarchy of values, the highest value is the life of a human being,” he said.
(Written by Dina al-Shibeeb)