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Turkey Stands Firmly Against U.S. Sanctions On Iran

Putin Erdogan

Following Wednesday's unexpected and dramatic full and "immediate" withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Syria, Turkey has announced it will not play ball on Iran sanctions. According to a translation of the Turkish president's words on Thursday during a previously planned summit with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Ankara, journalist Abdullah Bozkurt reports, "Turkish president Erdogan says Turkey won't support U.S. sanctions on Iran which he claims puts regional security and stability at risk, vows to take all measures to minimize impact of sanctions on trade between the two countries, pledges support to Iran in difficult times." 

This is huge given that the complete U.S. reversal in policy comes following a phone call last week between President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wherein Erdogan is reported to have pressed the Kurdish problem and presence of U.S. troops. The United States needs Turkey as a key regional economy if it hopes to effectively strangle Iran through sanctions. Without Erdogan, analysts believe, Iran will be able to weather the storm long term.

For the past week Erdogan has threatened to launch a full-scale cross border assault on U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in Syria, which Turkey has long considered a terrorist extension of the outlawed PKK. Currently Turkey's military is reportedly mustering forces and tanks along deployment points at the Syrian border. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said the military is "intensely" preparing for a major operation against Syrian Kurds in Manbij, Aleppo Governorate, and to the east of the Euphrates. Turkish Anadolu Agency reported the defense minister promised to "bury" the Syrian Kurds. 

Prior to Trump's announced Syria pullout, the promised large-scale assault and ongoing future operations would have eventually brought American troops and advisers under fire, who've found themselves in the awkward position since entering Syria of training Syrian Kurdish militias on the one hand and coordinating broadly with NATO ally Turkey on the other.  Related: Chinese Refiners Aren’t Buying U.S. Crude

However, Trump's announced troop withdrawal has defused the crisis of American troops being caught in the middle, and along with it the possibility of a U.S.-Turkey clash. Thus the U.S. withdrawal is considered a major concession for Erdogan, which no doubt Trump was hoping to maintain as a key ally against Iran. That hope has now been dashed with Erdogan's speech Thursday.

This also comes a day after the U.S. approved the sale of $3.5bn in missiles to Turkey amid negotiations for Ankara to buy anti-air defense missiles from Russia. Last Wednesday the State Department informed Congress that the plan includes transfer of 80 Patriot missiles, 60 PAC-3 missile interceptors and related equipment. A number of analysts were quick to note the deal had been firmed up immediately prior to Trump's announced Syria pullout. 


But despite the multi-billion-dollar weapons sale, hawks in Congress and in the president's own administration will use Erdogan's Thursday announcement to "stand by Iran" as fodder for arguing against bringing the troops home, and continuing Syria ground operations in order to counter Iranian expansion. 

By Zerohedge

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  • peter on December 25 2018 said:
    The US needed to stand up to Erdogan with the threat of massive US retaliation if Turkey invades North Eastern Syria.

    This is the second time this year a Great power has appeased Erdogan , previously Russia/Syria withdrew its plans for the attack on Idlib province to remove the last of ISIS and other Turkey's surrogate Islamic groups.

    Failure to stand up to Erdogan will result in the ethic cleaning of the Kurds and then the takeover of the whole of eastern Syria and its Oil fields by Turkey. A prize Turkey desperately need to shore up its ailing economy.

    This will force Russia/Syria with a direct military response,

    Turkey would invoke Article 5. and draw the US and the rest of NATO into the conflict. And that would be it WWIII , Nuclear Holocaust and the end of civilization.

    As the past taught us with the Nazi expansion into Europe in the late 1930's the time to stand up and stop this man ( Erdo?an) is now before it becomes far more difficult and bloody to do so.?
  • Mamdouh G Salameh on December 25 2018 said:
    Turkey is a major regional player in the Middle East. It aims to establish itself as an energy hub for Europe. Iran figures prominently in Turkey’s future energy plans particularly with regard to Iranian future gas supplies to the European Union (EU). Moreover, the trade between the two neighbouring countries is going from strength to strength. Turkey accounts for 7% of Iran’s crude oil exports.

    On the other hand, Turkey has long considered US-backed Syrian Kurds as a terrorist extension of the outlawed PKK. Turkey is reported to be preparing a major operation against the Syrian Kurds in Manbij, Aleppo Governorate, and to the east of the Euphrates.

    It has now transpired that President Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from Syria followed a phone call last week with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. However, if President Trump thought that by agreeing to withdraw US forces from Syria, Turkey will support his sanctions against Iran, then he misjudged the situation.

    President Erdogan has announced that Turkey will not support US sanctions on Iran which he says puts regional security and stability at risk and vows to take all measures to minimize impact of sanctions on trade between the two countries.

    The Trump administration is now facing the naked fact that US sanctions on Iran have yet to cost Iran a single barrel of its crude oil exports. They are starting to realize that the zero exports option is beyond their reach and that the sanctions are deemed to fail.

    Still, in deciding to withdraw from Syria, President Trump is correcting a mistake that has been going on since 2011 when the United States and Saudi Arabia instigated, supported, armed and financed an uprising against the legitimate government of Bashar al Assad and Syria which has always been the only secular State in the whole Middle East.

    Syrian armed forces who currently control 93% of Syrian territory supported by Russia and Iran can easily eradicate any negligible remnants of ISIS in Syria without help from the United States. Both Russia and Iran were invited by the legitimate government of Syria to help quash the rebellion which has been augmented from the start by paid terrorists from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Libya and countries of the Middle East.

    On the other hand, the United States gatecrashed into Syria for the sole purpose of toppling the regime of Bashar Al Assad and not fighting ISIS. The United States illegally occupies large swaths of north-eastern Syria including Deir ez Zor which contains 95% of all Syrian oil and gas resources. And yet the US unashamedly imposed sanctions on oil shipments to Syria whose oil and gas fields are occupied illegally by the very country imposing the sanctions.

    The end game in Syria is nigh with a few facts emerging on the ground. One is that the 7-year civil war is coming to an end with the forces of the regime gaining the upper hand on all fronts. Another fact is that the Syrian democratic forces (SDF) who are allied to the United States are coming to realize that it is better for them to cut their losses and negotiate a settlement with the regime rather than continue a military confrontation they are bound to lose, hence their handing over the oil and gas assets and infrastructure in Deir Ez Zor area to the Syrian regime. A third fact is that the Syrian Kurds also allies of the United States reached the same conclusion like the SDF that their interests could be served better by cooperation with the regime.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
  • Darius on December 25 2018 said:
    USA keep repeating wrong decisions regarding ME. Iran was the first country to call Turkey for readiness to support them after the coup. They share a border and has billions of trades yearly. They have been living as neighbours for a long time, more than the history of the USA itself, the list go on... Sanctions would hurt Iran economy and its ordinary people lives, but wouldn't change Iran policy. Iran has survives for thousands of years, seen rise and falls of empires including its own empire that survived more than USA history all together. So be realistic and see Iran as an important player in the region due to its history, size, strategic location and its resources.
  • Bob on December 25 2018 said:
    In the movie W, about the younger Bush Administration and it’s march to war in Iraq there is a revealing scene in which the character portrayed as VP Cheney goes to a map of the middle east, swirles his pointer around all the region’s countries, and says, “If we took all the countries in the area and controlled their oil, who would f..k with us then?” The character portrayed as Colin Powell responds, “Spoken like a true oil man.”

    Although the movie is only a dramatic portrayal, we would lay odds that conversations like the one portrayed in the movie frequently took place amongst the real life players.
    There are a number of analysts who contend that the ongoing Bush wars were a catastrophe for the US that accelerated our country’s decline in influence and power.

    What that long line of interventionist wars clearly showed were that these countries were more than willing to defend themselves against the occupying forces. And these guerrilla wars by much weaker countries against far more powerful imperialists could go on for many years, draining the resources of their western rulers until, eventually, they were forced to retreat. Afghanistan is a prime example, with the US war ongoing for seventeen years. If history proves anything, it is that the time for imperial warfare has long passed.
  • Willi on January 10 2019 said:
    Alexandria Cortezzz O-casio noted;
    "OMG...I LOVE TURKEY ! ! ! ....especially like that Turkey Club Sandwich with Olive Aoli. Why cant Trump just leave Turkey alone and actually the US should give free Turkey to the 56 billion underprivileged in the US cause they...."*
    *A political advisor then interrupted Ocasio and noted Turkey is actually a sovereign nation; which completely confused Ms. Ocasio.

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