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TOKYO – Turkey's top diplomat on Tuesday criticized the U.S. resumption of sanctions on Iran as unilateral, not wise and dangerous, calling for a dialogue and engagement instead.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, in Tokyo for talks with Japanese leaders, told reporters that Turkey opposes sanctions because they don't achieve results.
"As a principle Turkey is against sanctions and we don't believe that any result can be achieved through sanctions," he said. "Cornering is not wise, isolating Iran is dangerous and punishing the Iranian people is not fair."
President Donald Trump's administration's resumption of sanctions on Iran took effect Monday.
Turkey is an U.S. ally and one of eight major importers of Iranian oil spared temporarily from immediate penalties.
Still, Turkey has to be frank with the U.S. about its opposition. The U.S. "unilateral" measure affects the world, including Turkey, one-third of whose gas imports come from Iran, he said, and urged Washington to find other reasonable solutions. "I think instead of sanctions, meaningful dialogue and engagement is much useful and this is our principle."
Cavusoglu also urged Saudi Arabia to fully cooperate in the investigation of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month, demanding the country locate his missing body and hand over suspected collaborators.
Turkey is determined to get to the bottom of the case and Saudi Arabia hasn't answered the key questions, he said. "We have to find out how it happened, who did it and who gave the instructions, and we also have to find the body of the journalist Khashoggi."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said in a recent op-ed in The Washington Post that the order for the journalist killing came from the highest level of the Saudi government but not King Salman.
Erdogan knows the king well and is convinced he was not involved in the murder, Cavusoglu said. He added that other evidence not made public suggested the king was not involved.
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