Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:0AM
Turkish businessman Mehmet Ersoy lost nearly three quarters of a million US dollars because of international sanctions posed on Iran. All Turkish banks but one have stopped processing payments for Iranian customers. Mehmet is not the only one in Turkey to be affected. So far in 2012, Turkey’s exports to Iran have fallen 20 percent as the embargo also put an end to the many European goods that would pass through the country. As well, US sanctions on Iran’s central bank hurt the country’s currency, while boosting the Turkish lira, increasing the cost of many Turkish items. Ozcan Alas runs the association of trade development for Iran and The Middle East and is not at all happy with the embargo. Next month, world powers will again meet with Iran in an effort to limit Tehran’s nuclear development program. Meanwhile more penalties against the country’s oil exports will go into affect on the 1st. Turkey relies heavily on energy imports from Iran. Last year Iranian oil accounted for more than 70% of Turkey’s $12.5 billion worth of oil imports. Yet in a response to US sanctions, Ankara has slashed imports by 20%, but affirms it is not bound to those sanctions in the same way it must abide by weaker UN ones. Yet trade in other sectors such as textiles and raw materials continue to be affected negatively. Though Turkey is not bound to this latest round of EU and US sanctions, it will nevertheless feel their pinch. It’s a delicate balancing act for Ankara between its allies in the west and Iran, whose peaceful nuclear energy program could prove very beneficial for Turkey's increasing demands.