Two Turkish lenders suspend Russian Mir payments amid US pressure
Ankara, Sep 20 (EFE).- Turkish lenders Isbank and Denizbank on Tuesday said they had suspended the use of the Russian Mir payment system after the United States imposed fresh sanctions targeting companies that were suspected of helping Moscow skirt sanctions.
The move from the Turkish lenders came after the US treasury department warned in a statement published on September 15 that it was slapping sanctions on the chief of the operator running Mir payments, Vladimir Komlev.
The payment system, which is very popular among Russian tourists, can be used in Turkey, Vietnam, Venezuela, Cuba and six former Soviet republics.
Isbank and Denizbank’s decision to suspend Mir transactions from Monday came after Turkish Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati declared that “it made no sense” for Turkish companies to worry about warnings from Washington.
Some analysts consider that other Turkish banks could soon follow suit.
In 2019, Isbank became one of the first banks in Turkey to introduce Mir payments.
Since the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, many Russian tourists have opted to spend their holidays this year in Turkey.
In the first seven months of 2022, Germans have topped the list of travelers visiting Turkey with 3 million and Russian tourists have come second with almost 2.2 million travelers.
The suspension of the Mir payment system could pose a problem for the Turkish economy as tourism is a key industry.
The move to suspend the payment system comes despite President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s insistence Ankara must remain neutral in the conflict because the country’s industry relies on Russian energy imports. EFE