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Erdogan deepens Putin ties as Turkish exports to Russia surge by 110%

Turkey's Erdogan says West pursues 'provocation' policy

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Turkey’s exports to Russia surged a massive 110 percent in August compared to a year earlier, sparking fears the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is deepening ties with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The two leaders met in Sochi in August and agreed to boost business cooperation, while it was also revealed that Turkey also consented to pay for a part of its Russian natural gas imports in rubles.

At the same time, the two Presidents vowed to increase the foreign trade turnover between the two countries to $100billion (£88.5billion) by 2030.

Last month, the two leaders met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) leaders’ summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan,

But Turkey’s exports to Russia soared in August by more than 100 percent from 12 months earlier “and above any previous peak”.

Robin Brooks, Chief Economist at the Institute of International Finance (IIF) and former Chief FX Strategist at Goldman Sachs has shared a bar chart showing Turkish exports to Russia rising steadily in each of the past six years.

He wrote: “Turkey’s exports to Russia are up massively. The total value of exports in August 2022 (blue) was 110 percent above August 2021 and above any previous peak.

“Markets are focused on the changing trade relationship between Turkey and Russia, with much of that focus on exports, not imports.”

The latest surge follows an initial decline of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

The overall sums are dwarfed by Turkey’s large imports from Russia – dominated by energy – evidence of growing trade between the two countries is likely to anger Western officials dismayed at talk of deepening ties between the two countries.

Turkish exports to Russia from May to July were worth $2.04billion (£1.81billion) and were a massive $642million (£570million) higher than those in the same months in 2021, according to export data compiled by the trade ministry and the Turkish Statistical Institute.

For that last month alone, the value of exports to Russia skyrocketed by 75 percent year-on-year, from $417million (£370.2million) in July 2021 to $730million (£648.2million) – with the $313million (£278million) rise being the largest for any country that Turkey exports to.

In addition, Russia’s share of Turkey’s total exports in July was 3.9 percent, up from 2.6 percent from 12 months earlier.

Western powers have gradually come to accept that Turkey will not shift its position and adopt measures aimed at punishing Putin for the war against Ukraine.

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But EU member states have reportedly become increasingly uncomfortable about the country’s continued booming trade with Russia and the possibility of it assisting Moscow as a replacement for other European imports and exports.

One EU official recently told the Financial Times: “It’s on our radar. It’s not nice and is not being perceived well by the EU. It’s an irritant.”

Last week, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed he will work with Russia to make Turkey a hub for the redistribution of Russian gas to third countries.

This had come a day after Russian counterpart Putin raised this possibility during the meeting between the two leaders in Kazakhstan.

Mr Erdogan said: “We have ordered the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and the institution in charge on the Russian side to work together.”

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