U.S. Treasury warns Turkish companies over business with Russia
The US government warned Turkish companies against working with sanctioned Russian institutions and individuals, intensifying pressure on the Erdogan administration that has maintained a strong relationship with Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, Wall Street Journal reported.
Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo sent an identical letter to both the American Chamber of Commerce in Turkey and TUSIAD (Turkish Industry and Business Association) in which he said that Turkish companies were at risk of coming under U.S. sanctions if they did business with sanctioned Russian companies or individuals.
“Any individuals or entities providing material support to U.S.-designated persons are themselves at risk of U.S. sanctions,” Adeyemo wrote in the letter adding that Turkish banks can’t have correspondence relationships with sanctioned Russian banks while maintaining the same ties with American banks.
There was no immediate comment from Turkey’s foreign ministry concerning the letter.
Turkey excluded itself from the Western sanctions on Russia and maintained relations with each of the warring countries, providing weapons to Ukraine and boosting economic cooperation with Russia.
Earlier this month, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met in the Russian city of Sochi and agreed to deepen relations in transport, agriculture, finance and construction.
The two leaders also agreed to switch part of the payments for Russian gas to rubles.
Adeyemo’s letter is the latest in a series of warnings from the Biden administration.
U.S. officials have since February privately voiced concerns about Turkey becoming a haven for sanctioned Russian assets, and in recent days the Biden administration has become more vocal about its demands for the Turkish government to comply with sanctions, WSJ said.
In June, Adeyemo paid a visit to and raised concerns about Russian assets sheltering in the country, he called his Turkish counterpart On Friday to repeat concerns that Russians were using Turkey to evade sanctions.