In recent days, the United States cautioned Turkey about the transfer to Russia of chemicals, microchips, and other items that could be used in Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine. The United States also threatened to take action against Turkish companies or institutions that violated sanctions.
In order to encourage more cooperation in stopping the supply of these products, Brian Nelson, the top sanctions officer for the U.S. Treasury Department, visited Turkish government and private sector leaders on Thursday and Friday.
In a speech to bankers, Nelson said a marked year-long rise in exports to Russia leaves Turkish entities “particularly vulnerable to reputational and sanctions risks”, or lost access to G7 markets.
They should “take extra precaution to avoid transactions related to potential dual-use technology transfers that could be used by the Russian military-industrial complex,” he said in a copy of the speech issued by the Treasury.
In the meetings in Ankara and Istanbul, Nelson and a delegation highlighted tens of millions of dollars of exports to Russia that raised concerns, according to a senior U.S. official who requested anonymity.
“There is no surprise…that Russia is actively looking to leverage the historic economic ties it has in Turkey,” the official said. “The question is what is the Turkish response going to be.”
NATO member Ankara opposes the sweeping sanctions on Russia on principle but says they will not be circumvented in Turkey, urging the West to provide any evidence.
Following Moscow’s incursion about a year ago, Western countries implemented export restrictions and sanctions. However, supply lines from Turkey, Hong Kong, and other trading centers have remained open.
According to Reuters’ December investigation, at least $2.6 billion worth of computer and other electronic components entered Russia in the seven months leading up to October 31. These items, worth at least $777 million, were produced by Western companies whose chips were used in Russian weaponry.