U.S. sanctions Turkish firms amid broader measures against Russia

U.S. sanctions Turkish firms amid broader measures against Russia
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The Biden administration intensified efforts to hinder Moscow's wartime economy, further complicating U.S.-Turkey relations.

In a bold action, the U.S. Treasury and State Departments unveiled sanctions against five Turkish companies and an individual on Thursday, alleging they assisted Russia in evading sanctions due to its conflict in Ukraine, reported the Foreign Policy magazine.

The Turkish entities are reportedly mending vessels for Russia's defense ministry and transporting military-relevant goods, such as drones and sensors.

This announcement is part of a larger strategy unveiled on Thursday to debilitate Moscow's economic, energy, and military sectors. The list of sanctioned entities spans over 150 targets, including Russia's top carmaker and companies in Turkey, the UAE, and Georgia, marking this package as one of the most comprehensive ever imposed by the U.S. State and Treasury departments.

James O'Brien, who leads the State Department's Office of Sanctions Coordination, highlighted the sanctions' intent, remarking, "Russia is ambitiously attempting to maintain a full-fledged wartime economy. Our goal with these sanctions is to constrict Russia's defense production capabilities and diminish its financial resources to sustain the war."

However, by sanctioning prominent Turkish firms, the U.S. may exacerbate its already delicate relationship with Ankara. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has historically balanced relations between the U.S. and its NATO allies and Russia. Despite supporting Ukraine with military supplies, Turkey has preserved its trade links with Moscow.

But Moscow-Ankara ties are with their challenges. Turkey's 2022 initiative, the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which aimed to secure food shipments in the Black Sea, was jeopardized when Russia withdrew from the agreement in July, souring their mutual relationship.