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20 Mar, 2024 13:50

US and Türkiye agree ‘sanctions compliance’ scheme – media

The arrangement is designed to protect Turkish firms against facing secondary penalties for working with Russia, Hürriyet reports
US and Türkiye agree ‘sanctions compliance’ scheme – media

The US and Türkiye have reportedly agreed on a plan allowing Turkish firms to trade with Russian partners while complying with sanctions against the country, Hürriyet reported on Tuesday.

According to the outlet, Washington previously “immediately” sanctioned Turkish companies that had or were alleged to have commercial connections with Russia even without notifying Ankara or asking for an investigation.

Under the new ‘sanctions compliance scheme’, the US will inform Türkiye about companies potentially subject to US sanctions and request relevant information. Ankara, in turn, will launch a probe into suspected violations and report the results, the article said.

Despite being a NATO member, Türkiye has refused to join Western sanctions on Russia, has maintained both economic and diplomatic ties with Moscow, and has pursued the further deepening of relations.

In February, the outlet Aydinlik revealed that officials from the US Department of Commerce visited Turkish companies and banks, and threatened to penalize them over trade relations with Russia. 

Russian ambassador to Türkiye Aleksey Yerkhov confirmed the same month that US officials were forcing local businesses to cut off interactions with Moscow.

“We have information that American representatives are energetically working with Turkish business, essentially terrorizing companies and threatening consequences in case they continue trade and economic cooperation with Russia,” the diplomat said.

Last month, Aydinlik reported that at the behest of US authorities, some Turkish banks stopped processing trade payments from Russia except for food, and faced the threat of having currency swaps cut off if they did not terminate relations with their Russian partners.   

US President Joe Biden signed an executive order in December allowing secondary sanctions to be placed on foreign financial institutions suspected of supporting Russia. 

American officials have repeatedly highlighted Türkiye as a hub of sanctions evasion, with some Western officials making allegations about trade between Turkish firms and sanctioned Russian entities.  

Local media reports cited Turkish businessmen as saying recent threats by the US have significantly complicated Turkish-Russian trade.

A number of businessmen told Aydinlik earlier this month that they were preparing to take legal action against US officials over their threats of sanctions.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in February that the Russian authorities were aware of the situation and confirmed that negotiations were underway, blaming “unprecedented, blatant and aggressive US pressure on Türkiye and Turkish companies.”

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