In its diplomatic efforts for more effective sanctions against Iran, the Obama administration is facing challenges from unexpected places. While more authoritarian counterparts such as China and Russia appear ready to endorse Washington’s efforts at coercive diplomacy, it is America’s democratic partners—NATO ally Turkey and rising economic giant Brazil—that oppose a sanctions regime and are insisting on reviving the engagement track with Tehran. Questions remain whether Turkey’s gamble on diplomacy with Iran will prove effective and whether it will finally establish Turkey as a key regional power. At issue too is whether Turkey’s engagement effort will backfire to the detriment of traditional Western partnerships. Turkey’s decision will have implications for U.S.-Turkish relations, as well as on Turkey’s future relationship with Israel.
On June 15, the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings (CUSE) hosted a panel discussion to explore these issues with leading experts on Turkey and Iran. Panelists included Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Ömer Taşpınar, Brookings Senior Fellow Suzanne Maloney and author Stephen Kinzer, whose most recent book is Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future (Times Books, June 2010).
After the program, panelists took audience questions.