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The EU sanctions watchdog has an easy target – Turkey

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Novorossiysk, Russia (PortSEurope) February 22, 2023 – The Netherlands is proposing the creation of a centralised European Union (EU) sanctions watchdog to tackle mass circumvention of the bloc’s sanctions against Russia centrally from Brussels. The idea is supported by Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania.

The reality is that most of the sanctions violations are happening in the Black Sea, where the flow of sanctioned goods and products from Turkey to Russia is increasing on a massive scale. This is happening at a low cost, fast and efficiently.

Although Russia suffers greatly from the EU’s restrictive measures, “they are being evaded on a massive scale”, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said on February 20. “We currently have too little capacity in the EU to analyse, coordinate, and promote new sanctions – that is why I would like us to set up a sanctions headquarters in Brussels, aimed at circumvention”, he added

“Companies will be obliged to include end-use clauses in their contracts so that their products don’t end up in the Russian war machine”, Hoekstra said. “The EU must use the full strength of its collective economic strength and criminal justice systems against those who assist in sanction evasion – by naming, shaming, sanctioning, and prosecuting them”.

The Dutch idea is a delayed reaction to the open secret that EU and U.S. sanctions are brutally violated by China, India, Central Asian countries and above all – Turkey. Freight traffic from Turkey to Russia increased almost five times in 2022, according to experts from Russia’s multi-service logistics operator First Forwarding Company.

Turkey – a key sanctions loophole

Following the imposition of western sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Turkey has become the main transit hub, from where goods are delivered to Russia mostly from Europe. Most of the cargo traffic entering Russia via its Black Sea ports consists of sanctioned goods and products.

Turkey is the big winner from the sanctions, generating hundreds of millions of euros in transport, logistics and storage revenue. Turkish companies also add a significant price mark-up of western goods, reducing the effectiveness of the sanctions.

Below are some of the stories, published by PortSEurope since August, showing that extended sanctions are bypassed via Turkey:

Fivefold increase in cargo volumes from Turkey to Russia in 2022

Next sanctions-busting shipping line launched between Novorossiysk and Istanbul

New terminals and berths in Novorossiysk port

DeloPorts doubles handling speed for ferry cargo from Turkey

Delo Group creates its own container lines from Novorossiysk

Delo Group is to increase ferry capacity to Turkey

RUSCON starts Russia-Turkey ferry service

New regular container line from Novorossiysk to Istanbul to start

Russia considers regular ferry service Novorossiysk-Turkey

Port of Novorossiysk to Turkey – the new cargo route

Turkey is not exporting products that could be used in Russia’s war effort, the country’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on February 20. The statement follows the U.S. warnings against the exports of chemicals, microchips, and other items.

“It is not true that we have exported to Russia products that can be used in the defense industry,” Cavusoglu said. “We asked the United States to notify us if there are any violations on this issue”. Cavusoglu added that Turkey will not allow U.S. and European sanctions to be violated in or via Turkey.

More PortSEurope news about the port of Novorossiysk

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