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Russians establish over 2,000 companies in Turkey in last 18 months amid sanctions: report

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More than 2,000 new companies have been established by Russians in Turkey in the past 18 months as sanctions due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine have prompted Russian companies to increase overseas investment, the Ekonomist news website reported, citing data from Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB).

The companies’ areas of interest are mainly in the food and energy industries, Ekonomist said.

The acquisition of Aytemiz Akaryakıt by Tatneft, a Russian oil and natural gas company, for $320 million is an example of Russian fuel companies in Turkey.

Hasan Hacıhaliloğlu, CEO of Taban Gıda, told Ekonomist that Russian companies are choosing to establish businesses in Turkey to address banking challenges.

İzzet Ekmekçibaşı, president of the Turkey-Russia Business Council at the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEİK), told Ekonomist about Russia’s efforts to strengthen its role as a vital energy supplier for Turkey and to invest in renewable energy in the country.

According to data from TOBB, 463 companies were established by Russians in the first half of 2023, totaling 2,000 companies in the last 18 months.

Russian investments also include real estate, and experts predict continued investment in construction, energy, and tourism.

The escalating tension between Russia and Western countries has led to intensified economic sanctions, particularly targeting Russia’s oil exports.

Turkey has reportedly become a hub for sanctions evasion, enabling Russia to circumvent these economic barriers.

According to a Wall Street Journal report on Aug. 18, Turkish company Beks Ship Management is operating a “ghost fleet” that assists Russia in shipping oil despite Western sanctions.

The situation has revealed signs that the US-led sanctions’ effectiveness is waning, with Russia’s Ural-grade crude oil trading above the cap set by the Group of Seven (G7) countries in July.

Western countries and the EU, with its 11th sanctions package, are actively working to thwart Russia’s evasion tactics, engaging with the Turkish government to emphasize the risks and the need for compliance with international restrictions.

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