Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a meeting of the AKP (Justice and Development Party) at the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara, November 29, 2023. ADEM ALTAN / AFP
A major gateway for goods destined for Russia, Turkey, the only NATO country not to apply sanctions, continues to export microprocessors, radio components, spare parts as well as dual-use goods (washing machines, cell phones, etc.) that help fuel the Kremlin’s war machine.
Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, its airspace has been open to flights to the Russian Federation, its ports are used for the re-export of goods essential to the Russian military-industrial complex and its men. businessmen act as intermediaries for Russian companies looking for a way around.
Curbing this trade has become a priority for Ankara’s Western allies, particularly Washington, which is better equipped than the European Union to bang its fist on the table in the event of sanctions being avoided.
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For the second time this year, Brian Nelson, Deputy Secretary of the American Treasury, traveled to Turkey on Thursday, November 30, to explain to the authorities the need to put a brake on exports which allow Moscow to continue its war in Ukraine. “Unfortunately, over the last eighteen to twenty-four months we have seen a six-fold increase in the re-export of the dual-use components of greatest concern. via Turkey,” the undersecretary said.
A well-established chain
Obviously, trade is prosperous between the two neighboring countries on the Black Sea. From January to September, Turkish exports of sensitive and dual-use goods soared to Russia, but also to Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, five post-war states. – Soviets suspected of acting on behalf of Moscow.
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The numbers speak for themselves. According to an analysis carried out by the British daily Financial Times, based on the Trade Data Monitor database, in 2023, Ankara declared 158 million dollars (145 million euros) in exports to these countries, or three times more than the level recorded during the same period in 2022. A significant increase if we take into account the fact that exports amounted to 28 million dollars (25.7 million euros) only between 2015 and 2021, i.e. before the large-scale Russian aggression of Ukraine.
Essentially, the categories of exported goods, numbering 45 according to the US Treasury, are used by the Russian defense industry to manufacture missiles, drones, vision systems for planes and helicopters. Produced in the United States, the European Union and Asia, these goods manage to enter Russia thanks to a well-established chain of front companies, multiple reshipment systems and hidden final destinations of which Turkey has made itself one. speciality.
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