ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s state-owned bank Ziraat Bank has suspended use of Russia’s Mir payment system, Chief Executive Alpaslan Cakar told Reuters on Thursday.
The moratorium comes amid a U.S. crackdown on those accused of helping Moscow avoid sanctions and a Western push to strengthen the economy between NATO members Turkey and Russia Contact comes amid concerns.
The Turkish president quoted Tayyip Erdogan last week as saying that because of the sanctions, Turkey will have to take steps to find an alternative to the Mir system, “whether we like it or not”.
Two private banks, Isbank and Denizbank, suspended their use of the Mir system last week after Washington expanded sanctions against Russia, including targeting entities operating payment systems. Banks can continue to use the Mir system while providing greater transparency and assurance to the West that it will not be used to circumvent sanctions.
Turkey’s two other state-owned banks, Halkbank and Vakifbank, have yet to comment
NATO member Ankara opposes Western sanctions Russia has close ties with Black Sea neighbors Moscow and Kyiv . It also condemned the Russian invasion and dispatched armed drones to Ukraine as part of its diplomatic balancing act.
Uzbekistan’s UZCARD system said on Friday that it had suspended processing payments via Mir cards.
(Reporting by Can Sezer; Additional reporting by Ebru Tuncay; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Ezgi Erkoyun and Mark Potter)