German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Turkey on Monday to back the western efforts to impose tougher sanctions on Iran due to the latter’s nuclear ambitions.
Iran failed so far to remove the concerns of the international community over its nuclear program, the visiting German leader said in a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after their closed-door talks.
It is time to move against Tehran in the UN Security Council to force it to meet the international demands, she said.
Turkey, as a non-permanent member of the UNSC, is asked to support the European and US efforts against Iran in the council; this is what the West expects from Turkey, Merkel underscored.
“In case Iran fails to take a clear step shortly, we will decide on the sanctions issue,” she said adding: “Germany would be very happy if we could vote together with the United States, Europe and Turkey.”
However, Erdogan voiced opposition to the call for taking the Iran-west nuclear standoff to the UNSC, saying that his country favored a diplomatic negotiated settlement.
The most appropriate approach to solving this standoff is through diplomacy, he said, noting that sanctions proved to be incorrect.
The previous sanctions on Iran proved to be ineffective and the western powers which lobbied for the sanctions in the past are violating them now, the Turkish leader made clear.
Turkey keeps neighborly ties with the Muslim nation; the two countries capitalized on their geographical closeness which helped push up the bilateral trade volume.
Iran is now Turkey’s second largest partners in the energy sector after Russia, Erdogan pointed out Regarding his talks with Merkel, Erdogan said they discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues of common concern on top of which are Turkey’s bid to join the European Union (EU), Iran’s nuclear file, the long-stalled Middle East peace process and the Cypriot inter-communal dispute.
On her part, Merkel said her country supported Turkey’s accession talks the EU, distancing herself from the French-backed suggestion to grant Turkey the status of a privileged economic partner in lieu to full EU membership.
The suggestion was raised sometime ago but failed to get backing from anybody, she said, urging continuation of the EU-Turkey membership talks.
Merkel arrived here earlier Monday on a two-day visit to Turkey during which she will hold talks with President Abdullah Gul later this evening ahead of heading for Istanbul to attend the Turkish-German business forum on Tuesday.