President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday said Turkey would not implement new US sanctions targeting Iran, underlining that it would be a violation of Turkey’s sovereignty to force it to cut relations with a neighboring country, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.
“As the US is our strategic partner, it would be a violation of Turkey’s sovereignty to compel us to break relations with other strategic partners. It [Iran] is both our strategic partner and our neighbor. We import key products from them. Who will heat my country during the winter if I halt imports?” Erdoğan told the press at Esenboğa Airport in Ankara before leaving on an African tour.
“We are also sad to see that this kind of thing came to us from different channels. Mr. President [Donald Trump] has displayed a good stance up until now. The delegation that visited us solicited our thoughts on the matter. I hope they have not taken a wrong step.”
US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing Marshall Billingslea and a delegation visited Ankara last week.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also reiterated that Turkey would not implement the unilateral US sanctions on Iran, noting that Ankara conveyed the message to the recently visiting US Treasury delegation.