CIA reportedly targets Russians in Turkey

According to a Turkish newspaper, a US intelligence agent requested information about private real estate sale specifics.

According to a story published on Friday in the Yeni Safak daily, the Central Intelligence Agency has "openly" threatened Turkish businessmen for doing business with Russia and has spied on their real estate transactions out of concern that US sanctions would be circumvented.

According to information obtained by the newspaper, the head of the CIA's office in Turkey allegedly made calls to senior members of construction firms to get information on recent real estate deals involving Russian individuals or businesses.

The report claims that the CIA agent conducted business interviews while pretending to be looking into US anti-Russian sanctions. He was curious about the precise number of "houses sold to Russians," the methods and currencies employed in the transactions, and if cash-in-hand or a bank account was utilized to make the payments.

A letter allegedly issued by US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo to the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD) on August 22 is another instance of what Turkish media have called "meddling in the issues that are out of [US authorities'] duty."

Adeyemo reportedly threatened to put sanctions on TUSIAD members engaged in business with Russia, according to the site. The association acknowledged receiving the letter and shared it with the Turkish finance and foreign ministries without divulging its contents.

It happens at a time when worries among Western countries about Turkey's growing energy and trade relations with Russia and the possibility that Moscow may be able to evade US and EU sanctions related to the conflict in Ukraine are growing.

In a phone call with Yunus Elias, Turkey's deputy finance minister, last week, Adeyemo "expressed concerns that Russian organizations and persons are trying to use Turkey to escape sanctions imposed by the United States and 30 nations," according to a readout from the US Treasury Department.

In its response, Turkey stated that it would not let the "breaching" of American sanctions and would continue to take a "balanced" stance on the situation in Ukraine.

Despite Turkey's condemnation of Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, no other NATO member has sanctioned Moscow or blocked Russian flights from using its airspace.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, had previously positioned himself as an intermediary between Russia and Ukraine. In March, Turkey conducted peace talks that were eventually unsuccessful but later assisted in negotiating a deal to reopen grain shipments from Ukraine to international markets via the Black Sea.

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