News ID: 217463
Published: 0837 GMT June 29, 2018

Turkey vows to keep Iran ties despite US pressure

Turkey vows to keep Iran ties despite US pressure

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday his country does not have to abide by "unilateral" US decisions on Iran, saying that Ankara would not cut off trade with its neighbor at the behest of others.

Cavusoglu spoke Friday after US President Donald Trump's administration threatened allies with sanctions if they don't cut off Iranian oil imports by early November.

“If the United States’ decisions are aimed at peace and stability, then we’ll support them, but we don’t have to follow every decision. Being allies doesn’t mean following every decision word for word,” Cavusoglu told broadcaster NTV in an interview.

“Iran is a good neighbor and we have economic ties. We are not going to cut off our trade ties with Iran because other countries told us so.”

He added that the US should consult with Turkey on matters concerning the region.

Trump announced in May that he would pull the United States out of a 2015 nuclear deal agreed by Iran and six world powers and would reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

Turkey, a NATO ally, is dependent on imports for almost all of its energy needs. In the first four months of this year, Turkey bought 3.077 million tons of crude oil from Iran, almost 55 percent of its total crude supplies, according to data from the Turkish energy watchdog (EPDK).

Turkey's Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci told reporters on Wednesday that Washington’s demand to stop purchasing oil from Iran will not be binding for Ankara.

Zeybekci said Turkey would only respect measures announced by the United Nations toward its eastern neighbor.

“The decisions taken by the United States on this issue are not binding for us. Of course, we will follow the United Nations on its decision. Other than this, we will only follow our own national interests. In addition, we will pay attention so our friend Iran will not face any unfair actions,” he said.

President Tayyip Erdogan last year said Turkey was looking to raise the volume of its annual trade with Iran to $30 billion from $10 billion.

AP, Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.  


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