Russia’s sanctions on Turkey ‘against world trade agreement’
Hacer Boyacıoğlu - ANKARARussia’s trade sanctions against Turkey are a violation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), said a Turkish retired diplomat experienced in trade affairs, noting that the World Trade Organization could punish Moscow for its actions.
Bozkurt Aran, who is also the Center for Multilateral Trade Studies Director in the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), said the Russian sanctions against Turkey violated the WTO agreement.
“Russia has announced a number of sanctions that are against many articles of the GATT. If Turkey wants, it would be possible to cancel these sanctions through the WTO channel,” Aran said.
Russia implemented the sanctions after Turkey refused to apologize for downing a Russian jet on the Turkish-Syrian border on Nov. 24.
According to the first article of the GATT agreement, if a country takes any decision to not purchase another country’s goods, the decision needs to also be applicable to other countries.
“The third article of the same agreement covers national applications. For instance, if a country says I won’t buy any orange more than 10 cm in diameter from abroad, this rule needs to be applicable for oranges that are traded in this country’s domestic market as well, according to this article. The 21st article defines under which conditions trade limitations can be applied, such as the gun trade or international tensions, but Russia has not mentioned any international tension in announcing its measures against Turkey, but several criminal and illegal actions. These elements do not have any place in the WTO deal. Such a move constitutes a discriminatory act,” he added.
“In this vein, Turkey may request the establishment of a panel in the WTO regarding the issue over the reasoning upon the violation of the WTO rules. There is a list of arbitrators, and the panel’s arbitrators are chosen from among the listed participants. The panel decisions will be binding for the parties. If the panel decides that the sanctions are against WTO rules, they need to be canceled in a forward-looking perspective. These sanctions are against both the spirit and the foundation rules of the WTO. I don’t want to think that Russia would violate WTO rules after it had tried hard to become a part of it for over 18 years,” added Aran.
Aran served as the permanent representative of Turkey to the WTO between 2007 and 2012.
In addition to serving as an emissary to the WTO, Aran chaired the Trade Policy Board, the Committee of Trade and Environment and the Accession Working Committee of Belarus, and was a member of the management board of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL).
After serving as the deputy director-general for bilateral relations for European countries at Turkey’s Foreign Ministry (1993-1998), he worked as the director-general for bilateral economic affairs (2000-2002) and director-general for the Middle East (2006-2008).