West News Wire: Concerns among Turkish firms over a warning about potential US sanctions on companies doing business with sanctioned Russian enterprises have been rejected by Turkey’s finance minister as “meaningless.”

This Monday, the Turkish Industry and Business Association stated that it had received a letter from Wally Adeyemo, the deputy secretary of the US Treasury, warning Turkish businesses against doing business with individuals or organizations in Russia that were subject to US sanctions.

In a string of tweets posted on Friday, Turkey’s finance minister, Nureddin Nebati, stated that Turkey was committed to enhancing its economic and commercial ties with its neighbors “within a framework that is not subject to sanctions.”

Turkey, a NATO member, has attempted to strike a balance between Moscow and Kyiv by denouncing Russia’s incursion and arming Ukraine but rejecting the Western military alliance.

Turkey has said, however, it would not allow international sanctions to be breached.

“It is meaningless for a letter relayed to Turkish business groups to create concern in our business circles,” Nebati said, adding that he is “pleased” to see that the US is “inviting its businesses to invest in our economy”.

“Turkey is one of the most important political and economic power centres of the world. Our business world should feel the power of the state alongside it at all times,” he said.

Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, where the two leaders pledged to further develop bilateral ties.

Putin noted at the time that Russian-Turkish trade doubled in the first five months of the year compared with the same period last year, a surge reflecting Moscow’s growing focus on ties with Ankara amid the bruising Western sanctions.

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Faced with an economic crisis, Turkey is relying on Russia for trade and tourism. Russian gas covers 45 percent of Turkish energy needs, and Russia’s atomic agency is building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant.

Nebati said Turkey is confident it can balance its ties with Russia and its international relations.

“We are determined to develop our commercial and economic relations with our neighbors in various sectors, especially in tourism, within a framework that is not subject to sanctions,” he tweeted.

The head of a metal exporters group said this month that Russian demand for Turkish products had increased, and that Turkish companies had received enquiries from European businesses about supplying Russia via Turkey.

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