Turkish banks adopting Russian payments system - Erdoğan

Five Turkish banks have assumed Russian payments system known as Mir, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday, following his talks with President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. 

Turkish banks have seen serious developments regarding Russia’s Mir card, BBC Turkish cited Erdoğan as telling reporters on the plane returning from Russia on Saturday.

The development is a “relief for both Russian tourists and Turkey,’’ he said, adding the central bank governors of the two countries also met during the visit. 

Putin and Erdoğan on Friday agreed to boost cooperation in the transport, agriculture, and construction industries, and begin implementing partial payment in rubles for deliveries of natural gas. The  four-hour meeting between the pair was the second in less than a month.

Erdoğan has worked to use his warm relations with both Ukraine and Russia to play a role in ending the war launched by the Kremlin on February 24. But Turkey also maintains good ties with Ukraine, seeking to expand its trade and commercial relations with the country.

Unlike a large number of Western nations, Turkey has refused to impose sanctions on Russia and continued to import energy from the country, which supplied some 46 percent of the country's gas last year. 

Russia has also provided Turkey with foreign-exchange liquidity, transferring billions of dollars to a Turkey-based subsidiary of Rosatom for completion of the country’s first nuclear power plant in its southern coast.

The Turkish president said he will visit the Akkuyu nuclear plant, which has been at the centre of controversy, after Russia’s state-run Rosatom ended an agreement with a top Turkish contractor. Neither Turkey nor Russia would accept a delay on the completion of the plant, according to Erdoğan.

Erdoğan said that Turkish ministries are also working to broker an agreement on Russian grain exports.

Over a dozen bulk carriers and cargo ships loaded with grain have been stuck at Ukrainian ports there since the start of Russia’s invasion in late February.

Ukraine and Russia last month agreed to a deal that would allow the resumption of vital grain exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports in what is considered a major diplomatic breakthrough aimed at easing a global food crisis sparked by the war. Ministers from both countries signed an agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in Istanbul last month.

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