Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says it is risky to drive Iran into corner and unjust to punish Iranian people
By Fuat Kabakci
Turkish foreign minister said Tuesday that nothing could be achieved through sanctions, referring to latest U.S. move targeting Iran.
Washington announced on Monday new sanctions targeting Iran’s energy and financial sectors along with its shipping industry.
More than 700 individuals, entities, aircraft, and vessels were blacklisted, including 50 Iranian banks and their domestic and foreign subsidiaries.
“We don’t think any result can be achieved through sanctions,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Japanese capital Tokyo at an international news conference.
Cavusoglu said that dialogue and meetings were more “useful” than sanctions, adding: “This is our principal attitude.”
Mentioning that Turkey buys natural gas and oil from its neighbor Iran, the minister said it was not easy for some countries like Japan and Turkey to vary its energy resources due to the sanctions.
He also said that it was not a wise move to drive Iran into a corner and it was not just to punish Iranian people, either.
“Not only neighboring countries but also many countries in different parts of the world are affected by these unilateral sanctions by the U.S.,” he stated.
US support for PKK, YPG in Syria ‘unacceptable’
On the U.S. support for terror groups in Syria, Cavusoglu said: “The U.S. accepts that there is no difference between PKK and YPG. PKK is in the terror groups list of the U.S. and the UN.
“We formed a working group with the U.S. to fight PKK terrorist organization. The U.S. support for PKK and YPG in Syria is not acceptable.”
Calling the PYD/PKK-led umbrella group the SDF a “reliable partner” in its fight against Daesh, Washington continues to provide it with arms and equipment, even as Turkey stresses its terrorist identity.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.
Turkish, Saudi working group should be ‘result-oriented’
Also addressing the case of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Cavusoglu said that investigation into the incident was ongoing.
On the joint working group between Ankara and Riyadh formed upon the request of the latter, Cavusoglu said: “But this working group should be result-oriented.”
He also urged Saudi Arabia to reveal the name behind the killing.
“From whom did the 15 people, who came to Istanbul and killed Khashoggi, take the instruction? It is important to know who gave the instruction,” he said.
He said that 15 people could not come from Saudi Arabia to kill a Saudi citizen without any instruction and permission.
Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to receive paperwork he needed to get married.
After days of denying any knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts, Saudi Arabian officials said he died in a “brawl” in the consulate but later admitted that he was killed there.
Once inside, he was immediately strangled and then dismembered, according to the Istanbul Prosecutor’s office.
Investigation of the incident suggests a special hit squad came to the consulate, scouted out Istanbul’s Belgrad Forest, and tried to cover up evidence at the consulate building.
The international community refused to accept the Saudis’ claim that the incident was not a premeditated murder.
Rescue of Japanese journo from Syria
On the rescue of Japanese journalist Jumpei Yasuda from Syria in October, Cavusoglu said: “No ransom was paid as far as I know. Japan never took such initiative, either. We, as Turkey, didn’t pay any ransom for rescuing any citizens as well.”
He added that if any ransom was paid, radical groups would find grounds to kidnap more journalists and other people.
Expressing pleasure for the return of Yasuda to his country, Cavusoglu said that the journalist was kept hostage for over three years.
“Since then, Turkey has tried it’s best [to rescue him],” he added.
Yasuda went missing in Syria in 2015 and he was rescued from al-Qaeda captors by Turkish security and intelligence teams in consultations with Japanese authorities last month.