Turkey’s Iran Policy: Between Diplomacy and Sanctions

This article was published in Insight Turkey Vol. 12 / No. 3 / 2010 pp. 19-26.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed the fourth round of sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran on June 9, 2010. Turkey, along with Brazil, voted in opposition to sanctions while Lebanon abstained from the vote. Turkey and Brazil’s votes were particularly critical because they demonstrated a lack of unity within the international community. The rationale behind Brazil and Turkey’s votes derived from the fact that the nuclear swap deal signed by Iran is, so far, the only concrete deal. It represents the only legal basis that the international community can build upon and hold Iran accountable. Although both countries’ “no” votes were consistent with their diplomatic efforts, many analysts are criticizing Turkey in particular for not voting with its traditionally strong allies such as the US. Turkey’s vote against the new round of sanctions represents an important milestone not because Turkey is abandoning its long-time allies but because Turkey is learning to make its own foreign policy calculations and decisions.

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