Local offices of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Turkey have ‘openly’ threatened Turkish businessmen for doing business with Russia while snooping on their real estate transactions for fear of possible circumvention US sanctions against Moscow, local media reported.
The head of the CIA’s Turkish station allegedly contacted high-ranking employees of construction companies in the country, inquiring about transactions and other confidential details of recent real estate purchases involving Russian entities or individuals, according to the local newspaper Yeni Safak reported Friday, citing trade sources.
According to the report, the senior CIA officer interviewed local businessmen under the pretext of monitoring anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the United States, expressing a particular interest in knowing the exact number of “houses sold to Russians “, channels and currency, as well as a payment method used in transactions.
Another example of what the Turkish media described as “interference” in [internal] affairs beyond the control of US government agents, was a letter allegedly sent on August 22 to the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD) by US Undersecretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo, threatening to impose sanctions on members involved in conducting business with Russia.
TUSIAD confirmed it received Adeyemo’s letter in a Tuesday press release without disclosing its contents, noting that it had shared it with Ankara’s foreign and finance ministries.
“Any person or entity providing material support to U.S. designees is themselves at risk of U.S. sanctions,” Adeyemo wrote in his letter, the contents of which were first reported by The Wall Street Journal Last week.
“Turkish banks cannot expect to establish correspondent relationships with sanctioned Russian banks and retain their correspondent relationships with major global banks as well as access to the US dollar and other major currencies,” he added.
Since Russia launched an ongoing military operation in neighboring Ukraine on February 24, the United States and its European allies have imposed a series of sanctions against Moscow, warning other countries against doing business with companies. and individuals sanctioned by Russia.
Turkey, despite being a member of the US-led NATO, maintains good relations with Russia even after the operation began, angering Washington, which remains increasingly alarmed by the fact that Moscow and Russian companies are allegedly using Turkey to evade Western financial and trade restrictions against the Kremlin.
Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin reached an agreement to boost economic cooperation at a summit in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi.
According to official figures, the value of Turkish exports to Russia between May and July increased by almost 50% compared to last year’s figure.
Turkey has doubled its imports of Russian oil this year as Russia moves away from Europe. Ankara and Moscow have also agreed to switch to ruble payments for natural gas exported by the Kremlin-linked giant Gazprom.
Ankara, which also enjoys good relations with Ukraine, has so far tried to remain neutral in the conflict and refused to join the international sanctions regime against Russia.
Turkish officials have yet to officially respond to Adeyemo’s letter.