Turkey has warned that the fall-out from Wednesday’s vote against Iran at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) could hit the resolution of conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In a television interview with Turkey’s channel 24, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Ankara would now make an energetic effort to persuade global powers to begin negotiations with Iran to implement the confidence- building nuclear swap deal that Tehran had signed with Turkey and Brazil last month.
“As of tomorrow morning (Thursday), we will intensify our diplomatic efforts. There are two options: Leaders could think about sitting at the negotiation table with Iran to resolve the issue through diplomacy and to put into practice the Tehran Agreement; and Iran could join the negotiation process.” He added that if “these two processes work together, the (UNSC) resolution can be invalidated”.
However, he warned that in the absence of a diplomatic engagement with Iran, efforts to resolve conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and West Asia would be severely undermined. “If all those efforts are ignored, it will be impossible to carry out the peace processes about Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East. Today’s decision was made without taking into consideration all those regional impacts,” Mr. Davutoglu observed.
Door ajar for diplomacy
Elaborating on Turkey’s decision to vote against the sanctions resolution, Mr. Davutoglu said that by doing so, Ankara had managed to keep the door ajar for diplomacy to play a role in resolving the Iran nuclear crisis. “If Iran had been totally isolated and if we had not declared that we stood behind the Tehran Agreement, there would have not been any negotiation ground with Iran.”
The Turkish Foreign Minister explained that the nuclear swap deal was an off-shoot of two identical letters that the President of the United States, Barack Obama had written to Turkey and Brazil. A meeting with the U.S. President in April also helped shape the swap deal.
Mr. Davutoglu said as Iran’s neighbour, it was in Ankara’s self-interest to have sanctions against Tehran lifted. “Turkey and Iran’s trade volume is around $10 billion, and it can rise to $30 billion if sanctions are lifted.”