Turkey blocks sanctioned goods to Russia Ship’s crew

From Bloomberg News (Bloomberg) —

Turkey abruptly halted the transit of sanctioned goods to Russia this month as the European Union and the US pressured their allies to back measures imposed over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The government, in accordance with the sanctions, ordered the transit of such goods to be halted through Turkey from March 1, a senior Turkish official said on condition of anonymity.

“The cargo handling system in Turkey just stopped working,” said Ekaterina Lazutkina, co-owner of Vendor Cargo, a Moscow-based door-to-door shipping, customs clearance and general cargo company that works through Turkey. The customs system is now blocking goods destined for Russia, she said.

Turkey has emerged as one of the havens for Russian wealth and a center for sourcing goods over the past year, benefiting from the personal relationship between Putin and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey’s exports to Russia rose to $9.3 billion in 2022 from $5.8 billion a year earlier, highlighting the difficulties facing the US and EU in uniting a front against Putin to set up.

Turkey’s stance is related to the expansion of EU sanctions against Russia, said Mustafa Boyacioglu, chief executive of Istanbul-based customs broker Subasi, confirming the blockade. He said there hadn’t been a formal announcement or a transition period, causing confusion among companies.

“We’re hearing that one solution might be to first ship the products to countries unrelated to sanctions, such as Central Asia,” Boyacioglu said over the phone. “There shouldn’t be a problem with products that were first imported into Turkey and then shipped to Russia, but we’re not even sure as the restrictions are based on origin.”

Russian shippers are still hoping for the situation to normalize, Valeriya Savenkova, commercial director at Moscow-based Transasia Logistics, which ships from Turkey, said by phone.

–With the support of Firat Kozok.

© 2023 Bloomberg LP

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