EU, Turkey to create a workgroup for sanctions on Russia

EU, Turkey to create a workgroup for sanctions on Russia
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EU Commission warned that problems could arise in the customs union between Turkey and the EU if the Turkish government failed to implement EU’s sanctions against Russia

Turkey and the EU will establish a "working group" to avoid the risks of the EU's sanctions against Russia being pierced through Turkey, Deutsche Welle Turkish said. If the problem persisted, problems could arise in trade relations between the EU and Turkey, according to DW. 

During a key EU Commissioner’s visit to Turkey last week, the sides discussed the sanctions in detail and agreed to engage in a "constructive dialogue" to avoid damage in economic relations.

Mairead McGuinness, Member of the European Commission in Charge of Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union, met with the Trade Minister Mehmet Mus, Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati and Central Bank Governor Sahap Kavcioglu in Turkey and gave information about the new EU sanctions against Russia.

During this visit, a ‘workgroup’ was established between the EU Commission and the Turkish government which will focus to avoid breaches of sanctions against Russia.

Turkey announced earlier that it would not comply with the sanctions imposed on Russia by the US, the EU and other Western partners and it would only respect the sanctions taken by the United Nations Security Council.

Eighth package of sanctions against Russia 

McGuinness’ visit to Turkey took place right after the EU approved the eighth package of sanctions against Russia last week. 

With the eighth package, restrictive measures can also be applied to those who facilitate the violation of the ban on infringement of EU sanctions. Real and legal persons, companies and organizations can be included in the EU's sanctions list.

President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen clarified who might be affected by this decision with the following words:

"For example, buying a product in the EU, taking it to a third country, and then sending it to Russia is a breach of our sanctions, and people or companies that do this can be put on the sanctions list."

Record increase in the trade volume raises concern

In this way, the EU is trying to prevent its sanctions from being bypassed through third countries. At the top of this list is Turkey, which is part of the Customs Union.

President Tayyip Erdogan's steps to further develop economic and commercial relations with Russia, and the record increase in the trade volume between the two countries raises Brussels' concerns.

In particular, the European Union wants to prevent Russia from supplying high-tech products that can be used in the military or other strategic areas through Turkey.

However Turkish government says those allegations are not based on concrete evidence.

Problems can arise in Customs Union

Meanwhile, European Commission in the 2022 Turkey Enlargement Report this week said that, if Turkey does not implement the EU's sanctions against Russia, it could cause problems in the Customs Union.

It was pointed out that the EU-Turkey Customs Union allows the free movement of goods, including products that can be used for military purposes, and that Turkey's non-participation in the EU's sanctions against Russia risks weakening the sanctions.

"In order for the Customs Union to continue to function, the parties must fully comply with the existing rules and avoid damaging mutual trust," the report said.