US warns of sanctions against Turkey over ties to Russia

Washington is increasingly concerned that the Russian government and companies are taking advantage Turkeyto avoid Western financial and trade restrictions imposed in response to the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, launched six months ago.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to strengthen economic cooperation during a meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi earlier this month.

According to official data, the value of Turkey’s exports to Russia increased by almost 50 percent in May-July. compared to last year’s figures.

Turkey is importing increasing amounts of Russian oil, and the two countries have agreed to switch to paying in rubles for natural gas exported by the Kremlin-linked company Gazprom.

US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo visited Ankara and Istanbul in June to express Washington’s concerns about Russian oligarchs and big business using Turkish entities to evade Western sanctions.

NATO member Turkey, which maintains good relations with both Moscow and Kyiv, is trying to remain neutral in this war and has refused to join the international sanctions regime.

Mr. Adeyemo later wrote a letter to the Turkish business association TUSIAD and the American Chamber of Commerce in Turkey, warning that their companies and banks were themselves at risk of sanctions.

TUSIAD said on Tuesday that it had forwarded the letter to Turkey’s foreign and finance ministries. Turkish officials have not officially responded to W. Adeyem’s letter.

The contents of the letter were first reported this week by The Wall Street Journal.

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