US turn screw on Ankara over Iran sanctions
By Daniel Dombey in Washington
Financial Times, Dubai, UAE Wednesday February 24, 2010
The US is stepping up pressure on Turkeys to back new sanctions
against Iran, highlighting the difficulties Washington faces in
forging a consensus on Tehran’s nuclear programme.
A report from International Atomic Energy Agency expressed fears last
that Teheran could be working on a nuclear warhead. But Turkey
remains unconvinced about imposing more sanctions and its relations
with the US are strained.
Ankara’s reluctance is all the more significant as the country is
presently on the UN Security Council and its Nato member.
`Turkey has as much reason to be concerned about the prospect about a
nuclear Iran as anybody.’ James Steinberg, US deputy secretary of
state, told the financial times.
Asked about statements Recep Tayyep Erdogan, the Turkish prime
minister, calling Iran a `friend’ Mr Steinberg added `We don’t need
them to label Iran. we need them to work with us to make sure that
Iran doesn’t become nuclear weapon capable’ the two allies needed to
find common tactical approach to try to achieve that objective.
Relations between the US and Turkey are being tested on other front.
Last week senor diplomats from each country had an angry exchange
outside a meeting between Hillary Clinton US Secretary of State, and
Joseph LeBaron US Ambassador to Qatar wanted to interrupt so
Mrs. Clinton could meet the Emir of Qatar on time. According to the
State Department Turkish diplomats physically restrained him from
Congress is to vote next month on whether to label the massacres of
Armenians during the Ottoman Empire as a `genocide’.
Turkey has previously warned passing the resolution which is baked by
138 of the 435 members of the House of Representatives would hurt
relations with the US.
Mr. Steinberg dismissed concern that military strike on Iran would be
likely after Teheran’s decision a week ago to shift almost all of its
stockpile of low enriched uranium to location where it could be
brought closer to
weapons grade material.
`Nobody is looking for a military solution’ he said `I mean nobody’.