A senior US Treasury Department official traveled to Turkey this week to discuss sanctions and export controls imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported, citing the US Treasury Department, as Washington closely monitors growing economic ties between Ankara and Moscow.
Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Elizabeth Rosenberg traveled to Ankara and İstanbul from Monday through Wednesday, where she met with counterparts including officials from the ministries of finance and foreign affairs as well as representatives in the private financial and commercial sectors, according to a statement.
The Treasury said the meetings “affirmed the importance of close partnership” between the United States and Turkey in addressing the risks caused by sanctions evasion.
“During her meetings, Assistant Secretary Rosenberg covered a range of topics, including the sanctions and export controls imposed on Russia by a broad coalition of over 30 countries, energy security, anti-money laundering policy, and countering the financing of terrorism,” the Treasury said.
Treasury and State Department officials engaged in talks with Turkish compliance officials, financial professionals, and government counterparts, it added.
Washington and its allies have imposed several rafts of sanctions targeting Moscow since its invasion of Ukraine, including targeting the country’s largest lenders and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo also traveled to Turkey in June to discuss the invasion and the enforcement of sanctions imposed on Moscow.
NATO member Ankara opposes Western sanctions on Russia and has close ties with both Moscow and Kyiv, its Black Sea neighbors. It also condemned Russia’s invasion and sent armed drones to Ukraine.
At the same time, it has ramped up trade and tourism with Russia. Some Turkish firms have purchased or sought to buy Russian assets from Western partners pulling back due to the sanctions, while others maintain large assets in the country.
But Ankara also pledged that the sanctions will not be circumvented in Turkey.
The US Treasury warned both the country’s largest business group TUSİAD and the Turkish Treasury Ministry in August that Russian entities were attempting to use Turkey to bypass Western sanctions.
Turkey has said joining sanctions against Russia would have hurt its already strained economy and argued that it is focused on mediation efforts.