US Ambassador told Turkish businessmen 'sanctions might spread' - Report

The members of the Turkey-U.S Business Council (TAIK) who attended a meeting with US Ambassador to Turkey David M. Satterfield were frustrated at the hard-line stance of the US Ambassador on the CAATSA sanctions, a Turkish journalist Murat Yetkin wrote on Tuesday.

Turkey-US Business Council (TAIK) board members on January 8 held a meeting with the US Ambassador David Satterfield over video, the purpose of which was to convey demands of the Turkish business world to the President-elect Joe Biden, Murat Yetkin wrote.

Regardless of political relations, TAIK hoped to ensure that economic relations would not be affected by the CAATSA sanctions, according the article.

However, the Turkish businessmen were shocked by the firm position of the US ambassador on sanctions-related issues, according to Yetkin.

Following the meeting TAIK released a press statement citing Satterfield maintain that “the sanctions are specific and the majority of the market will remain open to trade”.

The release is not available over the TAIK website, neither the video posted online.

Yetkin summarised the implications of the Satterfield’s statement.

1- The sanctions will remain as long as Turkey insists on S-400 purchase, this is what the ambassador meant by the phrase ‘’specific’’,

2- There is no return from the sanction decision because it passed in the Congress. It has become a law to be implemented three weeks later,

3- Trade is not possible in areas subject to sanctions, such as in the defence industry,

4- There is a possibility of spreading to other sectors other than the energy, agriculture and pharmaceutical sectors, where the sanctions focused the most.

Yetkin argued that the problem is not economic, it is political. And political enough to be resolved from the top.

The business world does not even know exactly how ready Ankara is for the Biden administration, added Yetkin.

Yetkin said that it is very difficult for Erdogan to back down on the S-400 from this point on. The key issue is the S-400 missiles purchased from Russia.

‘’The thresholds are clear: Biden will take over the presidency on January 20, there is a NATO meeting on February 17, and the EU leaders’ summit on March 25. We have exciting weeks and months ahead. The Turkish business world should now understand that the change accelerated by the Covid epidemic and that things are not working as before," Yetkin concluded.