Turkey's no vote on Iran sanctions a 'strong rebuke,' former US politician says
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News | 6/16/2010 12:00:00 AM | FULYA ÖZERKAN
Former US congressman Robert Wexler says he agrees with the Obama administration that the best course of action against Iran's disputed nuclear program was the strategy deployed at the United Nations Security Council. 'Turkey’s vote against that strategy was a significant rebuke of those united efforts to contain Iran,' he tells the Daily News
Turkey’s “no” vote against U.N. sanctions on Iran is a dramatic example of Ankara enacting foreign policy contrary to the U.S.’s core interests and the dismay in Washington should not be underestimated, according to a former U.S. congressman.
“The no vote was a vote against the Obama administration’s efforts to isolate Iran and prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons,” said Robert Wexler, the former chairman of the congressional caucus on U.S.-Turkish relations. “Most importantly, it was a vote against holding Iran to its international obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” Wexler told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review in an interview Wednesday.
“I agree with the Obama administration that the best course of action was the path taken by the U.S. at the U.N. Security Council and Turkey’s vote against that strategy was a significant rebuke of those united efforts to contain Iran,” he said.
Turkey’s negative vote at the U.N. Security Council last week as a policy to ensure the validity of a nuclear swap deal it brokered with Brazil caused disappointment in Washington.
Wexler said the swap deal failed to address Iran’s continuing enrichment of uranium and did not take into account new levels of uranium possessed by Iran, “so it was, in effect, dead in the water to begin with.”
[HH] Washington's dismay should not be 'underestimated'
Asked if he was expecting any crisis in Turkish-U.S. relations, Wexler said he did not.
“On the other hand,” he said, “the bipartisan dismay and bewilderment in Washington with respect to Turkey’s ‘no’ vote at the U.N. should not be underestimated. Also, what must not be underestimated is that both the U.S. and Turkey are best served when our nations cooperate and collaborate rather than work in a contradictory manner.”
The former congressman suggested that his “Turkish friends” play a leading and prominent role in their region, interacting with all of their neighbors, while maintaining a close and mutually beneficial relationship with the U.S. “The American-Turkish relationship is too precious and too important to not fight hard to preserve,” he said.
Wexler also shared his views regarding the debates over Turkey’s East-West orientation and shifting axis rekindled by Turkey’s stance toward the U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution.
“No, I am not convinced Turkey is turning to the East,” he said. “The question of East versus West is too simplistic an equation to analyze Turkish foreign policy.”
Wexler stressed that America respects the role Turkey plays in the Middle East. “What is confusing at times, however, is the inflammatory nature of the political discourse emanating from Ankara,” he said. “Allies can disagree on policies and tactics, but why must relations be inflamed to the point where hysteria rather than reason prevails?”