The US Treasury has sent a warning letter to Turkey informing it of the possible sanctions it might face if it continues doing business with Russia, Turkey’s top business association has confirmed.
The value of Turkish exports to Russia between May and July has increased by nearly 50% compared to last year, official data shows, and the two countries have agreed to transfer payments for the natural gas the Kremlin-tied giant Gazprom exports in the ruble, on top of Russian oil imports that are ballooning in Turkey.
Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to step up economic cooperation between the two countries at a summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
The possibility that the government in Moscow and Russian businesses are using Turkey to evade the financial and trading restrictions the West has imposed Western in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine six months ago has made Washington increasingly alarmed.
Back in June, the Biden administration sent US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo on a rare visit to Ankara and Istanbul to express their worries that Turkish entities are being used by Russian oligarchs and big businesses to avoid the steep sanctions.
Adeyemo’s visit was followed up with a warning letter to the American Chamber of Commerce in Turkey and Turkey’s TUSIAD business association pointing out that even the companies and banks were in danger of being sanctioned if providing material support to US-designated persons.
Adeyemo wrote that banks in Turkey can’t expect to retain their corresponding relationships with major global banks not their access to the US dollar and other major currencies while establishing corresponding relationships with sanctioned Russian banks.
The letter from TUSIAD was forwarded to Turkey’s foreign and finance ministries, as the association said in its statement on Tuesday.