The US increases pressure on Turkey over sanctions against Russia
US officials on Thursday continued to exert pressure on the Turkish government over sanctions against Russia as Turkey increases its bilateral economic relations with its northern neighbor.
“We have urged Turkey and all of our allies and partners that no one should have become a safe haven for illicit Russian assets or transactions, and we will continue to make that case,” said Vedant Patel, the principal deputy spokesperson of the US State Department.
“And as it relates to the energy conversation, we have continued to urge our allies to take steps to diversify their energy sources, to reduce energy reliance on Russia. And in the case of Turkey, we are working with them closely to assist in their own efforts to enhance energy security in the long term,” he said.
Last week, Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Elizabeth Rosenberg traveled to Ankara and Istanbul from Monday through Wednesday, where she met with officials from the ministries of finance and foreign affairs as well as representatives in the private financial and commercial sectors.
US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said the delegation led by Rosenberg went to Turkey “because Turkey is an important and valued NATO Ally that has expressed strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence in the face of Russians – Russia’s aggression.
“We’ve urged Turkey through any number of channels and any number of meetings not to become a safe haven for illicit Russian assets or transactions. We’ll continue to do so. It’s a shared interest of ours that our sanctions – collective sanctions – are vigorously enforced against Russia to impose the severe costs and consequences that we promised well before this aggression began,” Price said.
Earlier in October, A key EU commissioner also visited Turkey to warn the government and Turkish companies against the risks of being covered by the sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia.
Mairead McGuinness, Member of the European Commission in Charge of Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union, gave information about the new sanctions in her meetings with the Turkish ministers who steer Turkey’s economy.
Ankara opposes Western sanctions on Russia and ramped up trade and tourism with its northern neighbor. But Ankara also pledged that the sanctions will not be circumvented in Turkey.
Some Turkish firms have purchased or sought to buy Russian assets from Western partners pulling back due to the sanctions, while others maintain large assets in the country.