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Politics

Alarm in Western Capitals over Turkey’s Deepening Ties with Russia

ANKARA – Western capitals are increasingly alarmed at the deepening ties between Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin, according to ‘Financial Times’. In this regard, they raise the prospect of punitive retaliation against the Nato member if it helps Russia avoid sanctions.

It is reminded that Russian president Vladimir Putin met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Sochi on Friday and they agreed to increase co-operation between the two countries.

Six western officials told the ‘Financial Times’ they were concerned about the pledge made by Turkish and Russian leaders to expand co-operation on trade and energy.

Three European officials said the EU had not yet held any official discussions about possible repercussions for Turkey and several others cautioned that it was unclear what Erdoğan and Putin had agreed and that a formal EU decision on sanctions against Turkey would be challenging.

Besides, some individual member states could take action. “For example, they could ask for restrictions on trade finance or ask the large financial companies to reduce finance to Turkish companies,” one official said.

Furthermore, Washington has warned repeatedly that it will hit countries that help Russia to evade sanctions with “secondary sanctions”. In 2020, Washington hit Ankara with sanctions in retaliation for the purchase of an S-400 air defence system from Moscow.

But, the Turkish president holds significant leverage. Erdogan has repeatedly threatened to veto Sweden’s and Finland’s admission in to Nato, and is a vital partner for Europe on counter-terrorism and refugees.

The war in Ukraine has underlined Turkey’s strategically important location, controlling access to the straits that link the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. Erdoğan also played a role in securing the grain deal signed by Russia and Ukraine last month aimed at averting a global food crisis.

Source: ‘Financial Times’

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