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Turkey could cut off Russian Mir payment cards: Erdoğan

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Turkey is weighing whether to stop processing transactions made using Russia’s Mir payment system after receiving repeated warnings from the United States, Agence France-Presse reported, citing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks in the Turkish media on Thursday.

Washington has increased pressure on Turkish banks and businesses to comply with Western sanctions against Russia, warning that Turkish entities risked being exposed to secondary sanctions themselves.

Two of the five Turkish banks processing Mir payments have heeded Washington’s warnings and suspended the transactions, seeking further guidance about how sanctions could potentially be applied.

Erdoğan signaled that he was not happy about possibly stopping the Russian payments, which help support Turkey’s tourism industry.

“I will convene [a meeting] in İstanbul on Friday and make a final decision” on whether to stop the use of the Russian cards, Turkish media quoted Erdoğan as telling reporters in New York.

But such sanctions “do not really suit friendship,” Erdoğan said.

NATO member Turkey has tried to stay neutral throughout the seven-month conflict and refrained from joining Western sanctions against Russia.

Ankara is dependent on Russian oil and gas, while Erdoğan is keen to boost trade with Moscow as he tried to stabilize the battered economy in the run-up to elections next June.

Erdoğan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a regional summit in Uzbekistan last week.

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