The United States will continue to closely engage with Turkish authorities and the private sector to ensure compliance with sanctions against Russia and will take action in cases of non-compliance, Ambassador James O’Brien, the head of the State Department’s Office of Sanctions Coordination, said on Thursday.
Answering a question from Deutsche Welle Turkish Service reporter Değer Akal during an online briefing, O’Brien stated that this action might include additional sanctions for material support of sanctions evasion or other steps to stop the offending behavior. He added that the US would continue to work towards compliance in this way.
O’Brien said the US has been clear with both the Turkish government and the private sector about its expectations for compliance with the sanctions.
O’Brien also addressed Turkey’s role as a major buyer of Russian oil, stating that the US anticipates that Turkey, along with China and India, will negotiate good prices for themselves and remain in compliance with the price cap on oil imposed by the G7, even if the countries do not formally join the price cap coalition.
However, O’Brien indicated that as the US continues to evolve its sanctions and anticipate Russia’s efforts to gather resources for the conflict, consultations with Turkey may be necessary and the country may need to modify its plans for engagement with Russia.
Turkey has balanced its good relations with both Russia and Ukraine since Moscow invaded its neighbor in February. It played a key role in a United Nations-backed deal reached in July to free up grain exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports.
Relations between NATO allies Ankara and Washington have at times been rocky, however, as Turkey last month renewed calls for the United States to stop backing Syrian Kurdish forces.
The US Department of Treasury levied sanctions on December 8 on prominent Turkish businessman Sıtkı Ayan and his network of firms, accusing him of acting as a facilitator for oil sales and money laundering on behalf of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.