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US sanctions five Turkish firms in wide-ranging Russia crackdown

The US said it 'repeatedly' warned Ankara over the shipment of dual-use goods to Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, shake hands following a meeting in Sochi, Russia, on 4 September 2023 (AFP)

The Biden administration slapped sanctions on five Turkish companies and a Turkish businessman on Thursday, as part of its widening effort to choke the supply of western goods to Russia that could help it in its war against Ukraine.

The sanctions hit companies the US accuses of helping repair Russian ships and supplying “dual-use” goods to Russian companies.

The firms were included in a sweeping list of sanctions rolled out by the US Treasury Department and State Department targeting 150 foreign companies and individuals.

Turkey, along with the UAE, has been a focal point of western efforts to cut off the flow of electrical components and tech parts that can be used in Russia’s defence industry.

Several Turkish companies were sanctioned by the US in April for their alleged role in aiding Russia’s war industry.

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“The US Department of the Treasury has repeatedly raised the issue of the shipment or transshipment of dual-use goods to Russia with the Government of Türkiye and the Turkish private sector,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.

Ships, chips and cruise missiles 

The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Margiana Insaat Dis Ticaret, saying it had made “hundreds of shipments” to Russian companies producing military UAVs (Unmanned Ariel Vehicles).

“Margiana’s shipments….have included High Priority Items of the kind recovered in multiple Russian weapons systems used against Ukraine, including the Kalibr cruise missile, the Kh-101 cruise missile, and the Orlan-10 UAV,” the statement said.

The Treasury Department also sanctioned Demirci Bilisim Ticaret Sanayi, accusing the company of sending sensors and measuring tools into Russia. 

The US Department of State sanctioned Turkey-based CTL Limited for allegedly shipping high-priority electronic components parts sourced from western countries to Russia.

Separately, the State Department targeted linkages between Turkey and Russia’s shipping industries.

The department sanctioned Turkey-based Denkar Ship Construction for providing ship repair services to vessels the US says are affiliated with the Russian Ministry of Defence. Turkey-based shipyard agency, ID Shipping, and its owner, Ilker Dogruyol, were also sanctioned for providing ship repair services to Russian vessels the US says are tied to the defence sector.

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Turkey, a Nato member, has tried to position itself as a mediator in the Ukraine war, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan trying to revive a UN-backed Black Sea grain deal and Istanbul serving as a meeting point for Russian and American intelligence chiefs.

However, Turkey has also capitalised on the war, with an influx of Russian emigres and investors serving as a lifeline to its cash-strapped economy. Meanwhile, the value of bilateral goods exchange between Turkey and Russia has surged about 200 percent amid the war in Ukraine.

Turkey isn’t alone among Middle Eastern countries reaping economic benefits from the war.

The UAE has also staked out a neutral position in the conflict. Dubai, perhaps the flashiest of the UAE's seven emirates, has been one of the biggest beneficiaries, welcoming an influx of Russian emigres that has helped turbocharge the city's property scene, making it the world's fourth most active luxury home market and a hub for Russian oil traders.

An Abu Dhabi-based engineering firm, Green Energy Solutions, was also sanctioned on Thursday for providing engineering services and technology, which were previously provided by European service companies, to a Russian gas project, the State Department said.

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