Worldwide news | EU fumes at Turkish commerce with Russia - Financial Times

Ankara stepped into the gap left by US-EU sanctions against Moscow, angering Brussels.



Turkey's exports to Russia have increased significantly in value and volume since 2021 as Turkish businesses scramble to fill the void left by US and EU businesses in the market. Although they conceded there is little they can do about it, Brussels officials told the Financial Times on Tuesday that this is "not polite" and "not suitable."


According to the Turkish Trade Ministry's most recent figures, almost $2 billion worth of exports to Russia were made between May and July, an increase of $642 million over the same period the previous year. The value of exports increased by 75% from $417 million to $730 million in just July alone. The increase in Turkish exports was the biggest ever recorded. Turkey now exports 3.9% of its total goods to Russia, up from 2.6% in July of last year.


The Turkish Trade Ministry reported that Ankara's shipments to the US are up by 25% and that overall export value is up 13% from the previous year. This is partly due to the depreciation of the Turkish Lira, but it's also because Turkey has chosen not to take part in the US and its EU partners' embargo against Russia.


One EU official, who talked with FT under the condition of anonymity, added, "It's on our radar." "It's unpleasant and not well received by the EU. It irritates me.


According to reports, certain EU capitals have enquired with Ankara regarding Turkey's ties to Russia. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, was hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi earlier this month.


Erdogan is adopting what he terms a "balanced" strategy in the Ukraine war, sending combat drones to Kyiv while preserving connections with Moscow on the economic front. Turkish government representatives and business executives have publicly embraced the opportunities brought about by the migration of US and EU firms from the Russian market as a result of sanctions.


According to Peter Stano, the head of the EU's foreign service, "it does not abide acceptable to deepen relations or engagement with Moscow" at a time when the EU is "cutting down its ties with Russia" over the situation in Ukraine.


Regardless of how angry Brussels officials are with Turkey, they admit they are powerless to change the situation.


Everyone [in the EU] needs Turkey, for one reason or another," a senior EU official told the Financial Times on condition of anonymity. "And the EU needs to understand its capabilities... We cannot only demand that Erdogan abides by our rules.


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