Apr 23 2019

US sanctions against Iran are "childish" - Turkish Foreign Minister

Turkey's Foreign Minister and his Belgian counterpart on Tuesday said they were opposed to Washington’s move to end sanctions waivers on Iranian oil sales with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stating that the decision would affect many countries, pro-government CNN Türk reported.

In a joint press conference following their meeting in capital Ankara, the Turkish and Belgian ministers of foreign affairs addressed a series of issues including the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement last week that he will not renew waivers that let countries buy Iranian oil without facing U.S. sanctions as part of a move by Washington to accelerate its goal of driving Iran’s oil exports to zero. The current batch of waivers expires on May 2.

Turkey is one of the countries that took advantage of the waivers during the first six-month window that began in November, when the Trump administration first restored energy sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

"The United States says it’s going to lift sanctions waivers. This is going to affect many countries,’’ Çavuşoğlu said, adding that the decision to apply pressure to countries to comply with a decision a country made on its own does not befit international diplomatic maturity. Çavuşoğlu also called the sanctions as ''childish'' and criticized the U.S. government for pressuring other countries to abide by their own sanctions which are taken ''unilaterally.''

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Renders said that Belgium continues to discuss the matter with the United States.

"Many countries are experiencing difficulties due to U.S. sanctions. We are against these decisions,’’ Renders said.

The two foreign ministers also touched upon the PKK with Çavuşoğlu saying that certain courts in Belgium are trying to exonerate the PKK, which is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the EU, calling for cooperation from Belgium in fighting terror.

The PKK is an armed group that has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey for over 30 years.

A court in Belgium in March acquitted 36 individuals and companies accused of activities involving the PKK on the grounds that the group cannot be considered a terrorist organisation.