The Financial Times reported Saturday that Western nations are unhappy with Turkey’s growing ties with Russia and that Ankara could potentially face sanctions for its pledge to increase trade with Moscow.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Friday, and the two leaders agreed to expand cooperation on trade and energy.
Erdogan has emerged as a broker between Ukraine and Russia, while most NATO leaders have completely abandoned the idea of diplomacy with Moscow. The Turkish president’s efforts have born fruit and led to the deal that has facilitated grain exports out of Ukraine for the first time since Russia invaded on February 24.
Despite the progress on grain, Western diplomats told the Financial Times that they are “concerned” about Turkey and Russia’s growing ties and the pledge to increase economic cooperation and warned that action could be taken against Ankara.
The US has said it could enforce “secondary sanctions” against countries that continue to do business with Russia, and Turkey could be a potential target. Ankara has previously been sanctioned by the US for purchasing Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems.
One Western official told Financial Times that countries could act against Turkey by “calling on Western firms to either pull out of relationships in Turkey, or to shrink their relationships with Turkey.” Other officials downplayed the idea of taking such a harsh step against Turkey but did not rule out taking “negative action” against Ankara if it gets “too close” to Moscow.