Turkey to decide fate of Russian payment system – Erdogan

The final decision on the use of Mir cards will be made on Friday at a presidential meeting

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will hold an economic meeting with his top officials on Friday to discuss the future of the Russian payment system Mir in the country and the risk of Western sanctions for servicing its cards.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of his visit to the US on Thursday, Erdogan said that Turkey would evaluate possible decisions on Mir cards, including the use of alternative systems, but stressed that sanctions “do not suit the regulation of our [Turkish-Russian] economic relations.”

“What are we going to do now? What could be the alternatives? My colleagues, who are interested in these alternatives, are having their meetings. After these meetings, I hope to gather all my friends in Istanbul on Friday. We will hold a meeting with them and make our final decision,” he said.

On September 15, the US Treasury warned international banks against facilitating transactions using the Russian payment cards, citing the “risk of facilitating Russia’s efforts to evade sanctions through the expanded use of the Mir National Payment System.”

This led two private Turkish banks, Isbank and Denizbank, to suspend Mir transactions to avoid US penalties.

Later, the head of Russia’s National Payment Card System, Vladimir Komlev, who has been added to the US sanctions list, said that Mir bank cards continued to work in Turkey, stressing that there was “no catastrophic drop in [operation] volumes.”

Five Turkish banks adopted the Mir payments network in early August, which allowed Russian tourists to pay for purchases in Turkey. However, Western nations are wary about the growing economic ties between Russia and Turkey, fearing that Ankara could help Moscow bypass Western sanctions.

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