Putin and Erdogan, the presidents of Russia and Turkey, have agreed to closer economic cooperation. One of them undermines what is arguably the West’s most far-reaching sanction.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to keep all doors open: While war is raging in Ukraine, he has reached an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin on increased cooperation in areas including the economy and energy, according to the Kremlin.
Meeting between Erdogan and Putin: strengthening cooperation
At their meeting in Sochi on the Black Sea, the leaders agreed Friday to expand relations between the two countries “despite the current regional and global challenges,” according to the Kremlin.
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According to the statement, they agreed on “concrete measures” to strengthen cooperation in the areas of transport, agriculture, industry, finance and tourism. Erdogan had said before the meeting that it would “turn a whole new page in Turkish-Russian relations.”
Ukraine war: Turkey’s role between Russia and the West
As a NATO member, Turkey criticized Russia’s attack on Ukraine but did not join the West’s sanctions. The country also plays a key role in mediating the conflict over grain exports from Ukraine across the Black Sea. Early last week, after several months of Russian naval blockade, the first grain freighter had departed from Ukraine.
In Turkey itself, however, Erdogan is in a big mess: because of galloping inflation and skyrocketing prices in Turkey, more and more people are dissatisfied with his job. Low-income Turks in particular can no longer afford even simple things.
Turkish banks adopt Russian payment system
Moreover, the country is dependent on Russian energy imports – and Russian tourists, for whom Turkey is a popular vacation destination. This is probably one of the reasons why Erdogan agreed to pay for Russian oil and gas deliveries in rubles in the future, reports ntv.de. In addition, five Turkish banks have taken over the Russian payment system “Mir,” reports the American business magazine Bloomberg.
Following sanctions imposed by the West, Russian banks are excluded from the SWIFT international payment system. This exclusion is considered the West’s most powerful sanctions tool, as it completely cuts Russia off from global financial traffic.
Now Erdogan is allowing exchanges between Turkish and Russian banks. For example, Russian tourists can withdraw money from a Turkish ATM or pay with a credit card there, and economic exchanges are also easier.