Turkish President Erdoğan attended the Turkey-Iran Business Forum in Ankara, Turkey on Dec. 20 and made statements about the US’ recent sanctions on Iran.
Erdoğan, criticizing the US withdrawal from a nuclear deal with Iran, stated “it has been mentioned many times by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran has been in compliance with the nuclear agreement. This is why we do not approve the US withdrawal from the agreement. I would like to emphasize that the sanction decision jeopardizes regional peace and stability. We are ready to take all kinds of measures to minimize the impact of this situation on trade relations between our countries. ... We will continue to stand by Iran. We are ready to deepen the cooperation in all areas in the coming period.”
Erdoğan also stated that he believes the sanctions on Iran could be transformed into an opportunity for both countries to enhance their bilateral relations. Stating that they are behind their estimated bilateral trade volume, Erdoğan said: “In this regard, I consider negotiating on the expansion of the preferential trade agreement that constitutes the conventional infrastructure of our commercial relations.”
The United States has re-imposed massive sanctions on Iran targeting the country’s energy, shipping, banking, and shipbuilding sectors while granting exemptions to eight nations for oil purchases from Tehran and exempting from sanctions Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant. The package of November 2018 was the second round of sanctions the US re-imposed against Iran after Washington withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement, which is more formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The US has exempted nations from the sanctions on importing oil, including China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey.
According to the energy experts, 44.6 percent of Ankara’s crude oil purchases came from Iran in 2017, showing that Turkey’s dependency on Iran is around 27 percent in crude oil and petroleum products in total.
In the data of 2017, when Iran had a trade surplus in relation to Turkey, the greatest source of that surplus was Turkey’s import of oil and natural gas, with a rate of 80%. The crude oil import from Iran in 2017 was double the one in 2016 – 11 million tonnes. Moreover, the import of energy-dense products such as untreated zinc, nitrogenous minerals, chemical fertilizer, and untreated aluminum, and fresh and dried fruit had an increase of 100%. It is seen that the products imported most after oil and natural gas were materials for chemical and metal industries. Low-cost import is possible from Iran in these products, since energy costs are pretty low in the country.