Ankara, through diplomatic channels, demanded clarification from Kyiv after a campaign began in Ukraine to impose sanctions against Turkish businessmen cooperating with Russia. This was reported on Tuesday by RIA Novosti with reference to the statement of the Turkish diplomatic mission in Kyiv.
The information was confirmed by the press secretary of the ruling Justice and Development Party of Turkey, Omer Celik.
“It is unacceptable for any country to impose or call for the imposition of sanctions against Turkey,” said a spokesman for the party led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to the Turkish newspaper Aydinlik, the reason for the demarche was the publication of a blacklist of the heads of the largest Turkish banks on the portal, which operates under the auspices of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAPC). The bankers were reproached for close cooperation with Russia.
We are talking about the War and Sanctions portal, which was launched in April and has a state-owned domain name – gov.ua. According to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, the resource allows you to view the list of people who have been sanctioned since the beginning of the Russian special operation, as well as get acquainted with candidates on the black list. More than two hundred NAPC analysts are responsible for the selection. The resource should inform foreign governments and citizens about the already imposed sanctions and involve the public in a global campaign to expand the sanctions lists. According to experts, “War and Sanctions” is an analogue of the scandalous site “Peacemaker”, only with an official status.
The black list, which caused a stir in Ankara, refers to members of the board of the state-owned Turkish Ziraat Bank (in particular, Ukrainians are calling for penalties to be introduced against the chairman of the supervisory board, Nurulla Bakir, his deputies Hyudaya Atylgan and Fuat Yilmaz Yildiz). The Ukrainians also blacklisted the leadership of Denizbank, the FIBA Holding international group, the Russian division of Credit Europe Bank, the Anadolu Efes brewing group and the Association of Industry and Business (in particular, member of the board of directors Hyusnu Ozyegin). The financial director of Efes Rus, Burkhan Tanik, was also blacklisted.
By the way, the mentioned two banks from the black Ukrainian list are known for accepting cards of the Mir payment system. In total, five banks provide this service in Turkey.
Lists of top managers are accompanied on the site by their photos and other personal data. At the same time, the authors of the portal demand that those on the list publicly condemn the Kremlin’s policies, stop paying taxes in Russia and transfer a significant part of their personal fortune to the Reconstruction Fund of Ukraine.
The former representative of Ankara to the European Union, Tugai Uluchevik, has already called for the Ukrainian Ambassador Vasily Bodnar to be summoned to the Foreign Ministry on this occasion “and to ask him for information.” The same opinion is shared by international expert Hasan Unal, who called unacceptable direct attacks against Turkish government institutions and businessmen.
“The necessary measures should be taken and these appeals should be removed immediately. Ukraine cannot interfere in Turkey’s foreign policy. This cannot be allowed,” the expert said.
Indeed, according to Ukrainian laws, any banks and firms cooperating with Russia are subject to sanctions, including foreign ones, but in this case Kyiv will turn a blind eye to the violation of its own laws, Ukrainian political scientist Vladimir Kornilov is sure.
“It will not come to the real introduction of punitive measures against Turkish banks and businessmen. The question will remain only at the level of discussions. Simply because in this case Ankara will not lose practically anything, but Kyiv will lose a lot. For example, all deals with Ukraine that are connected with the Bayraktars can be broken,” Kornilov said.
Kyiv has long expressed dissatisfaction with the close cooperation between Ankara and Moscow, and the behavior of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seen as treacherous, the source recalled.
“At the same time, when cooperation between Russia and Turkey led to a successful grain deal, Ukraine presented it to the whole world as an example when Russia was “forced” to sign a peace agreement,” the political scientist notes.
At the same time, Turkey also retains economic interests in Ukraine, but not as important.
“For example, the Turks buy Ukrainian grain or recycled products,” the expert clarifies.
“The threats that come from Kyiv prove once again that the United States can punish any country by proxy. In general, sanctions are a very dangerous economic weapon, with the help of which Ukraine acts not only against Russia, but also against the interests of Turkey. Washington constantly talks about a free market, and at the same time interferes with the cooperation of our banks with other countries”, Mehmet Perincek, professor of history at Istanbul University, complained in a conversation with the VZGLYAD newspaper.
According to the interlocutor, if Kyiv still impose some restrictions on other Turkish banks, this will radically spoil relations between the two countries.
“Such a step is completely inconsistent with the economic interests of Ukraine itself. But it should not be excluded, since Kyiv does not have its own political will, and it only fulfills the will of Washington,” the Turkish professor added.
In turn, the Russian-Turkish Business Council is confident that not a single Turkish bank will refuse to work with Russia anyway.
“The foreign trade policy of the republic was formulated by Erdogan: Ankara does not participate in any sanctions regimes, because it is impractical for the Turkish economy itself, and also because Turkey sees its mission in settling international problems,” explained Alexei Yegarmin, Director General of the Russian-Turkish Business Council.
If Ankara does not remain neutral on the Ukrainian issue and accepts one of the parties, then it will no longer be able to act as a negotiator, he added. “And it is a very successful negotiator – this was evident from the grain deal. This can happen even now in relation to the special operation”, Egarmin suggests.
“I fully admit that Kyiv will indeed impose sanctions against Turkish banks. However, Ankara will not sacrifice its trade partnership with Moscow and close the window of opportunity for new Turkish companies to enter the Russian market because of any calls from Kyiv. In addition, our countries have an agreement on payments, according to which priority in mutual settlements is given to the ruble and lira. Neither the United States nor Europe will be able to stop this practice with any tools,” Yegarmin said.
Rafael Fakhrutdinov, VIEW
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