Turkey, Politics

US sanctions hurting its own reputation: Turkish FM

If US wants to continue as reputable country, it cannot do so with these impositions, says Foreign Minister Cavusoglu

US sanctions hurting its own reputation: Turkish FM Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov (L) as they pose for a photo within the 10th Ambassadors' Conference in Ankara, Turkey on August 14, 2018. ( Cem Özdel - Anadolu Agency )

By Kubra Chohan and Jeyhun Aliyev


U.S. sanctions on Turkey are shattering the reputation of the U.S., Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday. 

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov at the 10th Ambassadors’ Conference in capital Ankara, Cavusoglu said: “The era of bullying must end. 

"If the U.S. wants to continue being a reputable country, it cannot do so with these impositions," he said, referring to the sanctions.

"We are against the U.S. or any country imposing sanctions."

Cavusoglu said there were two reasons why Europe was also worried about the sanctions on Turkey.  "Firstly, for a stable and strong economy, Turkey is important for Europe and all its neighbors. Secondly, Turkey may be one of EU or European countries tomorrow. All leaders at the NATO summit have seen this,” he said.

For his part, Lavrov said the U.S.’ "unlawful and illegitimate" sanctions policy cannot last for long. 

“We highly appreciate the rejection of our partners to join the anti-Russian sanctions,” Lavrov added referring to Ankara's stance against newly-imposed sanctions on Russia. 

Sanctions on Russia

Cavusoglu said: “We have also made it clear that we do not agree with the EU sanctions on Russia. We have also said that we do not agree with the sanctions on Iran.”

Lavrov backed the use of national currencies in mutual trade.

“I am sure that the abuse of the role of the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency would lead to the weakening of its role, and many countries, even those not touched by sanctions, will stay away from the U.S. dollar and rely on more reliable partners for using their currencies," he said.

About U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton’s meeting with Turkey's ambassador to the U.S. Serdar Kilic at the White House on Monday, Cavusoglu said the ambassador “gave a very clear message” to the U.S.

“Our ambassador has clearly given this message: 'Pressure, threats and sanctions in relations with Turkey would only bring chaos. The U.S. can develop its relations with Turkey with dialogue by leaving aside the language of sanctions and threat',” Cavusoglu said.

He also said the U.S. Embassy’s charge d’affaires will visit the jailed American cleric, Andrew Craig Brunson, in Turkey.

Turkey and the U.S. are currently experiencing rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions on two government ministers for not releasing Brunson, who faces terrorism-related charges in Turkey.

President Donald Trump on Friday ramped up his attack on Turkey by doubling U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminium and steel imports. 

Precautions in Syria

The Turkish foreign minister said he will discuss what could be done or which precautions could be taken in Syria’s Idlib with Lavrov.

 “It is clear what we should do in Idlib. Yes, we have 12 observation points there,” he added.

He said there are armed terrorist groups in Idlib, which are a threat, particularly to civilians and opposition groups.

Bombarding all of Idlib just because there are some terrorists there is tantamount to a “massacre”, Cavusoglu said.

“The aim of these observation points are to determine when there are conflicts or violations, or a party disrupting a cease-fire, and, as guarantors, taking measures toward these.

"Since the moderate opposition and the people are very disturbed by these terrorists, we have to fight against them altogether, we have to succeed. It is crucial for us, for the security of our countries, for the future of Syria,” he added.

Lavrov said the situation in Idlib is more complicated than other zones from the very beginning, mostly because of the dominance of the Nusra Front there.

“By placing Turkish observation points there the situation is calming down,” Lavrov said.

He added, “The Syrian army is on their own land, it fights for its independence against the terrorists, and we [Russia] act in accordance with the international law by supporting the Syrian army in it.”

Bilateral ties

Lavrov also said the commodity turnover between Turkey and Russia was steadily growing.

“We are successfully realizing big projects such as the Turk Stream and Akkuyu nuclear power plant's construction with the help of Russian specialists,” he said.

He added: “Also we are glad with the rise in the number of tourists from our country to the beautiful Turkish land. Last year, we were in the first place in number of tourists visiting Turkey with recreational purpose. It was about 5 million last year, and this year, we expect a new record as Turkish President Erdogan said.”

The five-day ambassadors’ conference is hosting 249 Turkish ambassadors and two charge d'affaires, as well as a number of foreign diplomats.

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