Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has reiterated that Turkey will not implement the United States’ unilateral sanctions on Iran, noting that Ankara has conveyed this message to a recently visiting US Treasury delegation, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.
“We have told them we will not join these sanctions,” Çavuşoğlu said, referencing a visit by US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing Marshall Billingslea to Ankara last week.
“We buy oil from Iran, and we purchase it under proper conditions. What is the other option?” Çavuşoğlu said Turkish authorities told the US delegation, speaking at a roundtable discussion with journalists on Tuesday.
“While we are explaining why we will not obey these sanctions, we have also expressed that we do not find these US sanctions appropriate,” the minister also said.
In a wide-ranging discussion with journalists, Çavuşoğlu also stressed that Turkey is willing to reconcile its ties with the EU in the coming period and is planning to hold meetings with European countries.
The Turkish government should continue reforms whether Turkey’s EU accession process gains momentum or not, Çavuşoğlu said.
“Maybe we cannot take many steps in the membership process, but we can enhance our cooperation on other issues,” he said.
“At least we can move from a negative environment to a positive one in regards to the process with the EU,” the minister said.
He recalled that normalization has started with the Netherlands and said ties with Germany are “getting better.”
“We have a good dialogue with France. In the coming period, we will have quarterly meetings in Europe,” he said.
Çavuşoğlu also claimed that the US was taking the accusations of the Turkish government against the Gülen movement more seriously after their persistence in providing “more evidence.”
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of orchestrating a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, although the movement strongly denies it.
The leader of the movement, Fethullah Gülen has been living in the US since 1999 and after the coup attempt has become an important foreign policy issue between Turkey and the US.