Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen has told Turkey it must
join the international coalition seeking to contain Iran. Speaking in
Ankara over the weekend Mullen said “The mutual goal of Iran not
achieving a nuclear-weapons capability, that we completely agree on, we
just need to reinforce. ”
Turkey is also under significant economic pressure from the US – a
Treasury delegation was in Ankara two weeks ago, warning key banks and
private companies not to do business with Iran.
Many Iranian banks turned to Turkey when the
UN, EU and US imposed fresh economic sanctions in June and froze many
of Iran’s foreign assets. Following the US Treasury delegation’s visit,
many Turkish banks have reportedly ceased doing business with Iran.
The US and Turkey have a mutually dependant military relationship –
Turkey relies on the US for arms sales. For the US, Turkey – as a Nato
member and with one of the world’s largest standing armies – is a key
ally as a landforce in Afghanistan. Its territory will likely also serve
as a land route for removing US equipment from Iraq.
President Obama has personally warned Turkish Premier Tayyip Erdogan in
that Turkey would forfeit a major arms deal (to purchase drone
aircraft) – if it did not cool its relationship with Iran and
reconsider a controversial fuel swap deal brokered with Iran in May.