Turkish state banks leave Russian payment system – Bloomberg

The threat of US sanctions has forced lenders in Turkey to stop dealing with Russian Mir cards, a senior official tells Bloomberg

Three state-owned Turkish banks, the only ones in the country to process transactions with Russian Mir cards, are planning to pull out, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing an unnamed senior official.

The decision follows a warning from the White House that financial institutions risk secondary sanctions if they help sanction-hit Russia circumvent punitive measures linked to Ukraine.

Earlier this month, the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that it was prepared to impose sanctions on any institution outside of Russia using the country’s payment system.

Turkish lenders joined the Mir payment network in early August, allowing Russian tourists to pay for their purchases in the country.

The forced measures expected to be taken by Halkbank, Ziraat Bank and VakıfBank to stop using Mir mark the latest U-turn in Turkey’s stance on anti-Russian sanctions.

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More countries suspend use of Russian payment system – Izvestia

Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has carried out a delicate balancing act since Moscow launched the military operation in Ukraine, announced his intention to hold an economic meeting with the country’s top officials to assess decisions possible on Mir cards in light of Western sanctions against maintenance of its cards.

Mir was developed by the Central Bank of Russia as a domestic alternative to Visa and Mastercard after the first round of sanctions were imposed on Moscow in 2014. Since the introduction of the new payment system, Russian banks have issued more than 129 million Mir cards.

Last week, Russian media reported that banks in Kazakhstan and Vietnam had stopped accepting Mir payment cards to avoid the risk of US secondary sanctions.

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