Turkish Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a meeting of the Turkish-Arab Cooperation Forum (TAC) Thursday that Ankara's UN Security Council no vote on Iranian sanctions was a matter of "honour."
"If we had not said 'no' to sanctions, we would have denied ourselves. It would be a dishonour. We would not want to participate in such a dishonour, because history will not forgive us," Erdogan said, DPA reported.
The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday voted to renew sanctions against Iran over that country's nuclear programme. Turkey and Brazil, both currently members of the Security Council, were the only two countries to vote against the sanctions.
The prime minister said he still believed that diplomacy is the only route to solving the question of Iran's nuclear programme.
The comments come a day after Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Turkey followed guidelines set out in a letter by US President Barack Obama when it sealed a nuclear fuel swap deal with Iran.
"Turkey progressed step-by-step for the Tehran agreement," Davutoglu said in a televised interview, stressing that an April meeting with Obama also helped shape the deal.
The agreement, brokered by Turkey and Brazil with Iran last month, called for Tehran to send part of its enriched uranium to Turkey in return for higher enriched uranium from Western countries to be used in a medical research reactor.
The deal was similar to one offered to Iran back in October. But Western countries rejected the new agreement as being too little, too late, since Tehran now has a bigger stockpile of enriched uranium.
"Turkey is against nuclear weapons and wants a region free of nuclear weapons," Davutoglu said.
But he added, "We are the only UN Security Council member neighbour to Iran."