Turkey, Ukraine, Russia

Turkey does not consider for now sanctions against Russia

Turkey believes that imposing sanctions on Russia would hurt its economy and end any dialogue with Moscow to put an end to the war.

Turkey does not contemplate imposing sanctions on Russia for now, as they would damage the Turkish economy and block any dialogue with Moscow, confirmed yesterday during a televised interview İbrahim Kalın, spokesman for Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan, assuring that the EU has not asked Ankara to join the measures taken by the 27.

“We are not of the opinion to impose sanctions against Russia. We have commercial ties, for example in natural gas, tourism and agriculture. We don’t want to take a step that harms our country,” Kalın said in remarks made to the CNN Türk news network, confirming that the European Union had not asked Turkey to join its sanctions against Moscow.

Another reason for not imposing sanctions against Russia is that Ankara wants to keep communication channels open with the Kremlin, the Turkish president’s spokesman explained. “We have to act taking into account the priorities of our country. There must be someone who can talk to Russia. Who is going to talk to Russia if the whole world burns the bridges? We do not plan any sanction package to keep this channel open,” Kalın stressed.

Kalın, Erdoğan’s close aide in recent years, nevertheless wanted to offer his opinion on the “illegal and unjust” invasion of Ukraine, pointing out that Russia’s demands in the negotiations with Ukraine – including the recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea, or the disarmament of the Ukrainian army – are “unrealistic” and “unacceptable”. “I don’t want to be pessimistic, but the picture I see is not encouraging,” said Kalın, for whom Putin’s main goal is not Ukraine but rather “achieving a more advantageous pact with the West.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also confirmed yesterday that Turkey will not join for now the sanctions that several countries have imposed on Russia, adding that just because it is a member of NATO, Ankara is not obliged to take sides. “Despite our differences of opinion, we have developed cooperative ties with both countries. When there is a war, we do not have to choose a side; on the contrary, we are the country that can establish a dialogue with both sides to end the war,” he said.