Turkey is caught between the US and Iran

Published 23.07.2018 23:00
Updated 24.07.2018 01:53

The U.S. has unleashed another war of attrition against Iran and wants everyone to contribute to the effort. In fact, the U.S. is now following a strategy that aims to scuttle Iran's oil exports and thus, bankrupt the mullahs while balancing out the world oil supplies by forcing Saudi Arabia to increase its own daily production.The U.S. sent an official delegation to Ankara, and the message was loud and clear: Either cut trade with Iran or face the consequences. They have gone so far to openly say Turkish companies that deal with Iran will not be allowed to do business in the U.S.

In fact, Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) President Rıfat Hisarcıklıoğlu says the message has been received and talks with American officials are in progress, but the union opposes restrictions against Tehran.

With Israeli encouragement, the U.S. claims Iran continues to pursue a policy of building a nuclear arms program and thus, U.S. President Donald Trump has pulled the U.S. out of a deal between Iran and Western powers. Russia says it is convinced Iran is not building nuclear arms and that Washington is misleading the world.

In fact, Turkey has regularly acted as a mediator between Iran and Western powers. It also helped Iran through a rough patch when the U.N. imposed sanctions for its nuclear arms program by allowing Tehran to use its financial means to avoid bankruptcy while also adhering to the rules of the international sanctions. Washington imposed its own sanctions on top of the U.N. sanctions, but Turkey did not adhere to the restrictions and paid a high price as the U.S. in turn jailed a Turkish banker heading a state bank in a farcical trial.

Yet, Turkish goodwill and friendship was not reciprocated by Tehran. As soon as the Iranians signed the nuclear deal with the West, they turned their backs on Ankara and started to hurt Turkish interests. Turkish companies were unable to win contracts in Iran. Yet, Turkey did not follow an anti-Tehran stance when there were massive protests in the streets of Iranian cities, instead protecting the economic policies of the mullahs and instead stood by the Tehran regime.

Turks are aware that they cannot afford to allow the Iranian people to suffer as they are our neighbors and friends. Governments come and go, but people remain; it is the friendship between the people of the two nations that count. "You can't sleep in comfort when your neighbor is hungry" the hadith by Prophet Mohammed says; this is the teaching that dictates the Turkish way of thinking.

Besides, Turkey is being told to buy oil from Saudi Arabia, while it has a pipeline with neighboring Iran and can get crude at a lower price. Besides, who can guarantee that Turkey will be provided a steady flow of oil at reasonable prices when Saudi Arabia at times is displaying an antagonistic policy toward Ankara?

So, on the one side, we have Tehran that has quickly forgotten our display of solidarity and friendship when they faced hard times under international sanctions, and on the other we have the U.S. that is out to bash Iranians and wants us to go along with their policies. There is also Iran displaying Persian expansionist policies throughout the Middle East with the U.S. feeling it is an immediate threat to Israel and thus, has to be stopped; all the while, the Jewish state becomes more and more menacing to regional security.

At the moment, Turkey is caught between its ally, the U.S., and its neighbor Iran.

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