Turkey pays a quarter of Russian gas imports in rubles. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced this in an opening speech to his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SSO) summit in the former Soviet state of Uzbekistan.
Erdogan and Putin promised during last month’s meeting to expand trade ties. This announcement caused unrest in Europe and the United States. Turkey, a member of NATO, refuses to join the international sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
Erdogan said he must take a “balanced” approach to the war because Turkey is dependent on Russian energy supplies. Turkey also supplies Kyiv with weapons. Putin told Erdogan on Friday that he sees Turkey as a “trustworthy” trading partner. He is also ready to use Turkey more as an export route for Russian goods.
Turkey imports nearly half of its gas and about a quarter of its oil from Russia. Purchases are essential to the development of the Turkish economy, which is led by the manufacturing industry. It is important that the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections are around the corner.
Both Washington and Brussels are putting pressure on Turkish companies to limit trade with Russia. The US Treasury said this week that it is placing Turkish banks that process transactions through Russia’s Mir payments system under stricter oversight.
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