Washington is becoming increasingly alarmed that the Russian government and businesses are using Türkiye to evade Western financial and trade restrictions imposed in response to the six-month-old war, AFP reported.
Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to step up economic cooperation at a summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi earlier this month.
Official data show the value of Türkiye’s exports to Russia between May and July growing by nearly 50 percent from last year's figure.
Türkiye’s imports of Russian oil are ballooning and the two sides have agreed to transition to ruble payments for the natural gas exported by the Kremlin-tied giant Gazprom.
US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo paid a rare visit to Ankara and Istanbul in June to express Washington's worries that Russian oligarchs and big businesses were using Türkiye’s entities to evade Western sanctions.
NATO member Türkiye – on good terms with both Moscow and Kyiv – has tried to stay neutral in the conflict and refused to join the international sanctions regime.
Adeyemo followed that up with a letter to Türkiye’s TUSIAD business association and the American Chamber of Commerce in Türkiye warning that companies and banks were in danger of being sanctioned themselves.
TUSIAD said in a statement late Tuesday that it had passed on the letter to Türkiye’s Foreign Ministry as well as finance and trade officials.
The letter's contents were first reported by The Wall Street Journal this week.
"Any individuals or entities providing material support to US-designated persons are themselves at risk of US sanctions," Adeyemo wrote.
The economic cooperation agreement sealed by Erdogan and Putin includes a deal for more Turkish banks to start processing Russia's Mir payments system.
Broader cooperation with Russia could help support Türkiye’s ailing economy in the run-up to next year's general election.