The economic cost "is borne by Turkey," not just by Iran, Caglayan told reporters today in Washington, when asked whether sanctions on Iran's trade are the best way to rein in the nuclear ambitions of Turkey's eastern neighbor. "Other countries pay the price of sanctions, too."
The price of oil has risen as efforts to restrict Iran's oil exports have fueled global insecurity over energy supplies. Turkey paid $54 billion for energy imports last year, a 40 percent increase over 2010, he said.
Turkey was the sixth-largest importer of Iranian crude during the first half of 2011, buying 182,000 barrels a day, according to the US Energy Department. In that period, Turkey accounted for 7 percent of Iran's oil exports, according to the US data.
The five biggest importers were China, Japan, India, South Korea and Italy. Iran is the second-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia.
Caglayan said Turkey isn't bound by unilateral US sanctions in the same way it must abide by United Nations sanctions.