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2 Feb, 2024 16:15

‘Anglo-Saxons’ pressuring Türkiye to cut ties with Russia – Kremlin

Ankara has nevertheless maintained its sovereignty and continues to cooperate with Moscow, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said
‘Anglo-Saxons’ pressuring Türkiye to cut ties with Russia – Kremlin

Türkiye remains one of the few countries that have taken a “fairly principled and independent position” on economic relations with Russia, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.

His comments come ahead of a planned visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Ankara to meet with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, expected to take place sometime this month, according to media reports.

Peskov noted that high-level Russian-Turkish contacts are always on the agenda and that the presidential meeting was being prepared. “As soon as the presidents finally agree on the date of the visit, we will inform you immediately, in a timely manner,” he said.

The spokesman added that the topics that will be discussed between the two leaders have also already been established. Bilateral relations, trade and economic cooperation will be at the top of the agenda, Peskov said. He added that international and regional problems, such as the Ukraine conflict, will also be addressed.

He noted that Türkiye has been one of the few countries that has taken an independent position on relations with Russia despite facing “unprecedented and shameless pressure from the Anglo-Saxons.” He claimed those countries are trying to force Ankara to completely cut off, or at least minimize, its interactions with Moscow to the detriment of Turkish interests. “But Türkiye retains its sovereignty,” Peskov 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 been pushing to deepen these relations further. 

Ankara’s decision has repeatedly put it at odds with other members of the US-led military bloc. At the same time, the EU has voiced concerns that Türkiye had become a “transit hub” for Russia, allowing Moscow to circumvent its economic blockade.

Meanwhile, the US has been pressuring Turkish financial institutions to cut ties and suspend processing payments with Russian banks to avoid becoming the targets of secondary US sanctions. 

On Thursday, the news outlet Vedomosti reported that at least two Turkish banks had started closing Russian corporate accounts and tightening policies for individual clients. Other banks issued 30-day closure notices to Russian corporate clients that opened accounts after the start of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.

Peskov confirmed the reports and stated that negotiations between Moscow and Ankara on the issue were underway. He noted that the account closures were an example of “unprecedented, blatant, and aggressive US pressure on Türkiye and Turkish companies.”

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