TURKEY: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will convene a top-tier economy-focused meeting on Friday at which the Russian payment system Mir and possible Western sanctions will be discussed, two sources with information on the matter told Reuters.
The meeting, which will include government officials and others will also address important agreements with Russia, recent heavy volatility on the Istanbul stock exchange as well as the general economic situation, the sources said, requesting anonymity.
Two private Turkish banks, Denizbank and Isbank, suspended use of Mir this week following Washington’s expansion of sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, including targeting the head of the entity that runs the payment system.
NATO member Ankara opposes the Western sanctions on Russia on principle and has close ties with both Moscow and Kyiv, its Black Sea neighbours.
It also condemned Moscow’s “special military operation” and sent armed drones to Ukraine as part of its diplomatic balance.
However, Western nations are growing anxious about the dynamics of the ties between Turkey and Russia, particularly after several meetings between Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, including last week in Uzbekistan.
Earlier on Thursday, the head of Russia’s National Card Payments System said Mir bank cards continued to work in Turkey, despite the two banks suspending them.
Russia’s central bank vowed last week to go ahead with expanding the number of countries still inclined to accept and use its Mir cards.
The U.S. sanctions target people and entities accused of helping Moscow skirt financial sanctions. Last month the U.S. Treasury sent a letter to Turkish business giants warning them of the risk penalties if commercial ties with Russia continued.
Earlier this week, a senior U.S. administration official said Washington expects more banks will cut off Mir over these sanctions and added that the decisions for suspension by Isbank and Denizbank made a lot of sense.
Meanwhile, on the Istanbul market, bank shares dropped severely last week after a strong rally since July, prompting the country’s clearinghouse to amend risk parameters to help ease the economic pressure.