PARIS (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has voiced scepticism over the effectiveness of any further sanctions against Iran in the dispute over its nuclear programme, saying he still supported a diplomatic solution.
In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro published on Tuesday, Erdogan criticised countries pushing for another round of sanctions in the Security Council, of which Turkey is a non-permanent member.
“We consider that this question should be resolved diplomatically,” he said. “Sure, sanctions are an issue at the moment, but I don’t think that the ones being discussed can bring results.”
Erdogan is going to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday as part of a two-day trip to France.
The United States, Britain, France, and Germany expect to meet with Russia and China in New York this week to begin drafting a new round of sanctions.
Once the five permanent, veto-holding Security Council members, plus Germany, agree, they will present the proposal to the other 10 council members. Lebanon, Turkey and Brazil are likely to oppose the idea.
“Those who took the decision to apply (previous sanctions) were the first to violate them,” Erdogan said in the interview. “The French, the Germans, the English, the Americans and the Chinese. They are all involved and still manage to indirectly send their products to Iran.”
Iran rejects Western accusations that it is trying to make nuclear weapons and says the programme is aimed at generating electricity for civilian use.
Erdogan said he had repeatedly told his “dear friend” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that there should be no nuclear arms in the region.
Iran is the second-biggest supplier of natural gas to Turkey, its neighbour, and Erdogan said their peaceful relations and trade ties must be taken into consideration in the talks.
Reporting by Sophie Hardach; Editing by Angus MacSwan