Türkiye blocks transit of sanctioned goods to Russia – media

10.03.2023 20:53

Türkiye blocks transit of sanctioned goods to Russia – media Türkiye blocks transit of sanctioned goods to Russia – media
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Türkiye has stopped the transit of sanctioned goods to Russia, several media outlets reported on Friday, citing market participants, logistics companies, and government sources.

The news outlet RBK reported that the first refusals from Turkish customs to clear transit cargo of non-Turkish origin destined for Russia were recorded on March 6.

Reports state that cargoes of both EU and US origin are being blocked, whereas those of Turkish origin or not subject to sanctions are reportedly being cleared and delivered without problems.

According to a report by Bloomberg that cites a senior Turkish official, Ankara ordered a halt to the transit of sanctioned goods via the country starting March 1 in order to comply with EU sanctions against Russia. However, the Turkish authorities have so far not commented on the matter.

Russian diplomats in Türkiye are investigating the reasons for the transit of such goods being suspended, the Russian embassy in Ankara said on Friday.

“Currently, the embassy and trade mission are working to clarify the circumstances and reasons for the reported difficulties in the processing of trade transactions of a number of Russian companies,” the embassy’s press service said.

Analysts attribute Türkiye’s decision to the EU’s latest sanctions against Moscow. In the tenth sanctions package announced last month, Brussels banned exports of dual-use goods to Russia. Türkiye is part of the EU’s Community Customs Union, in which cargo clearance takes place under EU rules, and, accordingly, in compliance with Brussels’ sanctions. However, Türkiye did not impose sanctions against Russia, and has not issued any official notifications that the transit of goods would be blocked. On March 1, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara would not be joining anti-Russia sanctions under external pressure.

Some analysts believe the transit halt is the result of the recent visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Türkiye. Washington has long been pressuring Ankara to distance itself from Russia, warning of secondary sanctions against Turkish companies for violating the restrictions against Moscow.

On the other hand, some experts claim that technical reasons may be to blame. Türkiye uses the EU’s electronic document management system, the NCTS, for transit operations, which was recently updated in accordance with the new sanctions. This update may have been causing problems with cargo clearance.