United States Threatens to Impose Sanctions If Turkey Continues to Do Business with Russia

United States Threatens to Impose Sanctions If Turkey Continues to Do Business with Russia
Russia's President Vladimir Putin shaking hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Washington - Turkey's main business association has confirmed receiving a letter from the US Treasury warning of possible sanctions if it continues to do business with Russia.

Washington is increasingly concerned that Russian governments and businesses are using Turkey to circumvent Western financial and trade restrictions imposed in response to the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine six months ago.

As AFP reported, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to increase economic cooperation at a summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi earlier this month. Official data show the value of Turkey's exports to Russia between May and July grew nearly 50 percent from last year's figure.

Russian oil imports from Turkey are swelling and both sides have agreed to switch to ruble payments for natural gas exported by Kremlin-linked giant Gazprom. US Undersecretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo made rare visits to Ankara and Istanbul in June to express Washington's concern that Russian oligarchs and big business are using Turkish entities to evade Western sanctions.

NATO member Turkey which is on good terms with Moscow and Kiev has tried to remain neutral in the conflict and refuses to join the international sanctions regime. Adeyemo followed up with a letter to Turkey's TSIAD business association and the American Chamber of Commerce in Turkey warning that the company and its own banks were in danger. TUSIAD said in a statement on Tuesday that the letter had been forwarded to Turkey's foreign and finance ministries.

The contents of the letter were first reported by The Wall Street Journal this week. "Any individual or entity that provides material support to US-appointed persons is at risk of US sanctions," Adeyemo wrote. "Turkish banks cannot hope to build appropriate relationships with sanctioned Russian banks and maintain appropriate relationships with major global banks as well as access to the US dollar and other major currencies," he continued.

The economic cooperation agreement signed by Erdogan and Putin includes an agreement for more Turkish banks to start processing Russia's Mir payment system. Turkish officials have not officially responded to Adeyemo's letter. Wider cooperation with Russia could help support Turkey's ailing economy ahead of elections next year.

Erdogan had previously argued that Ankara could not join Western sanctions against Moscow because of Turkey's heavy dependence on imports of Russian oil and natural gas.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post