Turkey not exporting items for use in Russia war effort – Foreign Minister

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey is not exporting products that could be used in Russia’s war effort, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday, after U.S. warnings this month about exports of chemicals, microchips and other items.

“It is not true that we have exported to Russia products that can be used in the defence industry,” Cavusoglu said. “We asked the United States to notify (us) if there are any violations on this issue.”

Speaking after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ankara, Cavusoglu also said Turkey will not allow U.S. and European sanctions to be violated in or via Turkey, and Ankara is taking steps to prevent it.

A top U.S. Treasury official visited Turkish government and private sector officials earlier this month to urge more cooperation in disrupting the flow of goods that can be used by Moscow’s defence industries.

Western nations applied the export controls and sanctions after Moscow’s invasion nearly a year ago. Yet supply channels have remained open from Hong Kong, Turkey and other trading hubs.

Ankara has balanced its good ties with both Moscow and Kyiv throughout the war, held early talks between the sides and helped broker a deal for grain shipments from Ukraine.

Cavusoglu said Turkey will act if a violation is detected, adding that the increase in Turkey’s trade with Russia is largely due to Ankara’s hefty gas and energy imports, which have tripled in cost.

(Reporting by Huseyin Hayatsever and Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Jonathan Spicer, Daren Butler and Ed Osmond)