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19 Oct, 2022 21:27

US pressuring Türkiye on Russia relations – Bloomberg

Angered by their NATO ally’s ties to Russia, American officials want Ankara to comply with their sanctions regime
US pressuring Türkiye on Russia relations – Bloomberg

American officials flew to Ankara this week to press Turkish officials and business leaders into complying with Washington’s anti-Russian sanctions, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. With Türkiye taking a neutral position on the conflict in Ukraine, the US has issued the country several warnings.

Led by the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, Elizabeth Rosenberg, the US delegation met the Turkish central bank governor and business groups in Ankara and Istanbul earlier this week, the report stated. Rosenberg met with local treasury officials on Wednesday for private talks, Bloomberg’s sources added.

Rosenberg was formerly a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a think-tank largely funded by the weapons industry. Whilst working at the Treasury during the Obama administration, she drafted sanctions on Iran, Libya, and Syria.

The Treasury Department did not comment on the content of Rosenberg’s talks, nor did Bloomberg’s sources. However, US officials have previously expressed displeasure with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s refusal to sanction Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine, and Washington has mounted a pressure campaign against Ankara, with some results.

Amid reports that the US and EU were considering “negative actions” against the Turkish economy, Turkish Deputy Finance Minister Yunus Elitas assured the US in August that his country “would not allow the breaching of sanctions by any institution or person.” Then, following a warning by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control last month, all five Turkish banks handling Russia’s Mir payment cards abandoned the system.

Erdogan has, however, continued to deepen his country’s ties to Russia. The Turkish leader has met his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, four times in the past four months. Most recently, he agreed to Putin’s proposal to create an international gas transit hub in Türkiye following a meeting in Kazakhstan last week. 

Erdogan has also leveraged his relations with Moscow and Kiev to position himself as a mediator between the two sides. Although peace talks earlier this year in Istanbul bore no fruit – allegedly thanks to the interference of then-UK prime minister Boris Johnson, Erdogan won international praise for overseeing talks that led to the resumption of grain shipments across the Black Sea from Ukrainian ports in August.