Turkey and the Iranian Nuclear Issue

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(Photo Credit: State Department)
This post also appears at The Race for Iran.
Iranian Petroleum Minister Masoud Mirkazemi’s visit to Turkey last week highlighted Turkey’s multifarious equities vis-a-vis Iran.
A new article by Kadir Ustun, “Turkey’s Iran Policy: Between Diplomacy and Sanctions” in the current issue of Insight Turkey offers a Turkish perspective on Ankara’s relations with Tehran in the context of the nuclear issue and relations with the United States.
Several conclusions can be drawn from the piece.
First, while Ustun does not say this explicitly, he indicates that Turkey must keep some distance from the United States in order to maintain its credibility in the Middle East. During the Cold War, many Arab countries viewed Turkey with suspicion due to its close ties with the United States and Turkey has no interest in allowing anti-Americanism to prevent Ankara from exerting regional influence. This sentiment is understandably unpopular in Washington, but it is a fact of life for Turkey.
Second, Turkey sees itself as a natural candidate to mediate regional conflicts. Turkey’s leaders relish this role both because they view the resolution of local conflicts as in Turkey’s national interests and because mediation raises Turkey’s international profile and is popular at home. Effective mediation requires maintaining positive relations with all sides. Therefore, Ustun says that “Turkey saw no choice but to vote ‘no’ to the sanctions [on Iran] in order to protect its reputation as an honest broker.”
It is noteworthy that while Turkey has been (rightly) subjected to vehement criticism in Washington for its over-the-top reaction to the Gaza Flotilla crisis, many of those same people have criticized Ankara for seeking to maintain friendly relations with Tehran. The fact is that Turkey is most valuable as a partner when it enjoys friendly relations with all of the Middle East’s major stakeholders.
With that goal in mind, Ustun’s major theme is that Iran simply believes that diplomacy, rather than sanctions and threats, is the best way for the international community to engage the Islamic Republic of Iran. That is the crux of the problem between Turkey and the United States and will remain so until either the United States engages in more vigorous engagement or Turkey determines that diplomacy has failed and that a more confrontational policy is necessary.
— Ben Katcher

Comments

17 comments on “Turkey and the Iranian Nuclear Issue

  1. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, you sound like a sensible guy on other issues. I don’t get why you reject obvious reality on the subject of Iran’s nukes. Is Iran’s drive for nukes supposed to be some conspiracy cooked up by the EU, the US, Israel, the IAEA, Saudi Arabia and all the Gulf States at once? For what purpose.

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  2. Don Bacon says:

    You’re confusing Iran with Israel. Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons.

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  3. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, you are simply lying about the Arab reaction to Iran’s nukes. They are deeply frightened and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, by many reports, insisted that Obama not accept a nuclear Iran and a policy of containment. The UAE ambassador only said publicly what many Arabs said privately.
    The American position has changed very perceptibly. Reporters from Michael Barone on the right to Joe Klein on the left are reporting that a strike against Iran is suddenly back on the table. After 18 months of unrequited engagement, Obama has finally changed policy.
    Gee, will somebody now spin theories about the power of the Saudi lobby?

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  4. oogede says:

    Ben Katcher seems to believe that if he repeats his line about Turkey’s “over the top reaction” to the IDF raid on the Gaza flotilla and the murder of Turkish, and US, citizens enough people will come to accept that Turkey did “over-react”.
    Nothing could be futher from the truth, the repitition of this falsehood only serves to remind readers that when it comes to Israeli crimes double standards abound, and unbiased journalism is a rare commodity.

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  5. Don Bacon says:

    nadine,
    It was not a secret uranium enrichment facility — it was a hole in a mountain. Still is. The IAEA said so. Don’t you know the difference?
    The IAEA has also called for Israel to sign the NPT — of course they won’t. Israel is special, don’t you know. Never mind a “secret facility” — their whole nuke weapons program — which Iran doesn’t have — is secret.
    The Arab League? The Arabs aren’t concerned about a fictitious Persian nuke program, but they sure care about all those Israeli nukes. Like the IAEA, the Arab League got after the main threat in the Middle East — Israel.
    “Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa has called on Israel, which is believed to be the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).” –15 Jul 2010
    Why won’t Israel sign the NPT, and abide by it, as Iran has?

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  6. JohnH says:

    Nadine spewing her usual double standards. When the UN requires Iran to adhere to the additional protocols, Iran is supposed to salute and say, “yes, sir.”
    But when the UN requires Israel to abide by a long list of UN resolutions, Israel is entitled to simply say, “f*ck off.”
    While Iran signed the NPT, they never agreed to the Additional Protocols. As a result, there is debate about whether the delay in notifying the UN about the Qom facility is a violation or not. The people who see it as a violation are also people who see Iran’s IAEA supervised enrichment program as a violation.
    Iran’s violation of the Additional Protocols is less egregious than Israel failure to sign onto the NPT at all.
    But as usual, Jewish Supremacists hold Iran to a strict obedience of all presumed international laws, yet consider Israel to be exempt from any accountability under international law.

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  7. Tosk59 says:

    Eh? “multifarious equities”? WTH??

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  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “It is noteworthy that while Turkey has been (rightly) subjected to vehement criticism in Washington for its over-the-top reaction to the Gaza Flotilla crisis………”
    Such “over the top” bias, slanted in Israel’s favor, is typical of Katcher’s propaganda here. Of all the contributers, Katcher has shown himself to be the least credible, I guess he just doesn’t give a shit if Israel targets Americans, murders peace activists, and tells the Presaident of the United states to go fuck himself.
    One wonders why Katcher lives here in the states.
    Why not just go to Israel, Katcher? You’d be happy there, and and lots of American’s would be happy you’re there. Its a win/win.
    Hey, how do ya like little kiddies swiss-cheesed with flechette darts, Ben? Gee, I hope no one goes “over the top” over it, don’t you?
    BTW, I’ve been meaning to ask; Are you and Nadine related?

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  9. Maw of America says:

    Just like everyone “knew” Iraq had WMDs? Et tu, Nadine?

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  10. nadine says:

    Yeah, sure, Pahlavan, the Iranian Jews are doing just great, except for those who get hung as spies every year or so. The 80,000 who bolted in 1979 were the smart ones.

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  11. nadine says:

    “Oh, and that secret enrichment facility, there is none. On 21 Sep 2009 Iran informed the IAEA that it had decided

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  12. Don Bacon says:

    nadine,
    Whatever are you talking about? The IAEA is charged exclusively with determining that Iran does not divert nuclear fuel under its NPT obligations, and the IAEA has continually, in every report, so verified that Iran is in NPT compliance.
    You must have seized on one of those rare UN reports that doesn’t condemn Israel and concocted a story, as you are wont to do. Please quote me chapter and verse of whatever you’re talking about, and let’s proceed from there.
    Oh, and that secret enrichment facility, there is none. On 21 Sep 2009 Iran informed the IAEA that it had decided

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  13. Pahlavan says:

    How is bunch of Iranian born “SO CALLED” Jews getting chased out of Iran for attempting to hi-jack the political system, (and now sitting in as members of Netanyaboo cabinet) conflicting with what I’ve said before? Note that these are facts that complicate the agenda of a criminal minority.
    – Over 25,000 Jews live within walking distance to the parliament in Tehran today.
    – The Jews in Iran are free to practice their religion, drink their alcohol or play their music
    – They have more representatives in the Iranian parliament than any other minority groups in Iran.
    -They’ve all given a cold shoulder to Israel’s offer to compensate every Jewish family $10000 per member if they relocate to Israel.
    -And they live within the laws of their local communities as majority of people of any race and color is doing around the globe.
    The problem is not Iran.

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  14. nadine says:

    “One specific example is the fact that a bunch of Iranian born (so called) Jews got chased out of Iran after their failed attempt to hijack Iran

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  15. nadine says:

    “Iran has a legal civilian nuclear program which has been in accordance with the NPT, a document that actually encourages civilian nuclear programs. The IAEA has continually verified that Iran has not diverted nuclear fuel to a weapons program. Iran wants to keep its program and is legally entitled to do so, according to the treaty it signed in good faith.” (Don Bacon)
    Don, why do you keep lying about the IAEA? I have repeatedly quoted the head of the IAEA saying the exact opposite of what you claim they are saying.
    Nobody in the whole world is stupid enough to believe that Iran built a secret, undeclared-to-the-IAEA uranium enrichment facility and hid it under mountains in Qom for a legal civilian program. Except you, apparently.

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  16. Don Bacon says:

    “Ustun’s major theme is that Iran simply believes that diplomacy, rather than sanctions and threats, is the best way for the international community to engage the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
    The problem with diplomacy is that there is no agreement on any agenda for negotiation.
    Iran has a legal civilian nuclear program which has been in accordance with the NPT, a document that actually encourages civilian nuclear programs. The IAEA has continually verified that Iran has not diverted nuclear fuel to a weapons program. Iran wants to keep its program and is legally entitled to do so, according to the treaty it signed in good faith.
    The US position has been all over the place with many false allegations. Iran has a weapons program that it must surrender, Iran has a secret nuclear facility, Iran hasn’t fore-sworn a nuke program and needs to do so, Iran is obligated to obey UNSC dictates, etc. So the US wants Iran to give up its civilian program, but what would this solve? How would such a move be verified? Why would such a move stop the verbal political attacks on Iran, and the false charges against Iran? In the meantime the US has promoted more and more sanctions which merely help China, Turkey and Russia, among others, at the expense of Western nations.
    So, in this light, the fictitious “Iran problem” obviously has another agenda and other motives, having everything to do with profiteering, political advantage and campaign contributions and nothing to do with negotiations which obviously aren’t possible.
    Of course the idea of failing at negotiations is appealing to the warmongers. “Well, we tried.”

    Reply

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