The United States warned Turkey in recent days about exporting chemicals, microchips and other goods to Russia that can be used in the Moscow war in Ukraineand could take steps to punish Turkish companies or banks that contravene the sanctions.
Brian Nelson, the US Treasury Department’s top sanctions officer, visited Turkish government and private sector officials on Thursday and Friday to urge greater cooperation in disrupting the flow of such goods.
In a speech to bankers, Nelson said that the remarkable increase in exports to Russia for a year leaves Turkish entities “particularly vulnerable to reputational and sanctions risks”or the loss of access to the G7 markets.
They must “exercising precautions to avoid transactions related to possible transfers of dual-use technology that could be used by the Russian military-industrial complex,” he said in a copy of the speech released by the Treasury.
At the Ankara and Istanbul meetings, Nelson and a delegation highlighted tens of millions of dollars of exports to Russia that raised concerns, according to a senior US official who asked to remain anonymous.
“It is no surprise… that Russia is actively seeking to take advantage of its historical economic ties to Turkey,” the official said. “The question is what the Turkish response is going to be.”
Ankara, a member of NATO, opposes in principle the extensive sanctions imposed on Russiabut claims they will not be circumvented in Turkey, urging the West to provide proof.
Western nations applied export controls and sanctions after the invasion of Moscow nearly a year ago. However, supply channels have remained open from Hong Kong, Turkey and other trading hubs.
Citing Russian customs records, Reuters reported in December that at least $2.6 billion worth of computer and electronic components entered Russia in the seven months leading up to October 31. At least 777 million of these products were made by Western companies whose chips have been found in Russian weapons systems.
On Thursday, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoganassured that the sending of tanks to Ukraine by the West will not solve the war and that it will only “stuff the pockets” of the arms producers.
Asked in an interview on the Turkish public channel TRT Worldthe president of Turkey has indicated that sending tanks and weapons “does not solve the problem”, which is why he called for promoting talks between Ukraine and Russia to reach “a lasting peace”.
The Turkish president’s words come weeks after Germany agreed to allow third countries to send tanks Leopard 2 –of German manufacture– to Ukraine, in addition to announcing that it would send 14 of these tanks to kyiv. Following Germany’s decision, the United States announced the shipment of its Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
The United States urged Turkey to ratify the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO
Finland hopes to join NATO together with Sweden in 2023
Hungary again delayed the vote for the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO