US warns Turkey against exports seen as fueling Russian war effort Reuters

By Jonathan Spicer

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The United States has warned Turkey in recent days about exports to Russia of chemicals, microchips and other products that may be used in Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine, and could move to punish Turkish companies or banks that violate sanctions.

Brian Nelson, the US Treasury Department’s top sanctions official, visited Turkish government and private sector officials on Thursday and Friday to call for greater cooperation in disrupting the flow of such goods.

Speaking to bankers, Nelson said a significant one-year rise in exports to Russia left Turkish entities “particularly vulnerable to reputational and sanctions risks” or losing access to G7 markets.

They should “take extra precautions to avoid transactions related to the potential transfer of dual-use technology that could be used by the Russian military-industrial complex,” he said in a transcript of the speech released by the Treasury Department.

At meetings in Ankara and Istanbul, Nelson and the delegation highlighted tens of millions of dollars in exports to Russia that caused concern, according to a senior U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“There is no surprise … that Russia is actively seeking to exploit the historical economic ties it has with Turkey,” the official said. “The question is what Turkey’s response will be.”

NATO member Ankara opposes sweeping sanctions against Russia in principle, but says they will not be bypassed in Turkey, calling on the West to provide any evidence.

Western countries implemented export controls and sanctions after Moscow’s invasion nearly a year ago. However, supply channels from Hong Kong, Turkey and other trading centers remained open.

Citing Russian customs data, Reuters reported in December that at least $2.6 billion of computer and other electronic components arrived in Russia in the seven months to Oct. 31. At least $777 million of these products were produced by Western companies whose chips were found in Russian weapons systems.


Ankara balanced its good ties with Moscow and Kiev during the war, holding early talks between the sides and also helping to broker a deal on grain shipments from Ukraine.

The trip by Nelson, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, is the latest trip to Turkey by senior US officials aimed at increasing pressure on Ankara to ensure that US restrictions on Russia are implemented.

The pressure brought some changes.

Turkey’s largest ground handling provider, Havas, has told Russian and Belarusian airlines that it may stop providing parts, fuel and other services to their US-origin planes in line with Western bans, Reuters reported on Friday, citing a letter from the company. from January 31.

In September, five Turkish banks suspended use of Russia’s Mir payment system after the US Treasury Department issued new sanctions to the head of the system’s operator and warned those helping Moscow not to circumvent them.

Nelson called on Turkish bankers to conduct increased due diligence on transactions related to Russia, and in his speech he pointed out that Russian oligarchs continue to buy real estate and dock yachts in Turkey.

In separate talks with Turkish companies, Nelson flagged “urgently” how Russia is believed to be evading Western controls to resupply plastics, rubber and semiconductors found in exported goods and used by the military, the official said.

The person added that after taking steps last year to pressure Russia to end the war, the U.S. focus is now “on avoidance, and especially avoidance in third countries that we see.”

Nelson made similar messages in the United Arab Emirates and Oman this week, the Treasury Department said.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *