Russian oligarchs can come to Turkey if legal, minister says

Russian oligarchs can come to Turkey if legal, minister says

Russian oligarchs can come to Turkey if legal, minister says

Turkey is not joining the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia and Russian oligarchs, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has reiterated, stressing that Russian business people can come to Turkey for business provided it is not in violation of international law.

“So if you mean that these oligarchs can do any business in Turkey, then of course, if it is legal and is not against international law, I will consider,” Çavuşoğlu said at a panel of Doha Forum in Doha over the weekend.

Çavuşoğlu was responding to a question by CNBC’s Hadley Gamble whether the Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the West could choose Turkey for investment and businesses. The minister said Russians can travel to Turkey, be it for tourism or business, but stressed that these business activities should be legal.

“We implement U.N.-approved sanctions, so if any Russian citizens want to visit Turkey, of course, they can visit Turkey. Now Russians are coming to Turkey, that’s no problem,” he said. “If it is against international law, then that’s another story,” the minister added.

Turkey has stood against the Russian invasion of Ukraine and expressed support to the latter’s territorial integrity but did not join the sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and others. It says it only implements sanctions decided by the U.N. Security Council.

Çavuşoğlu also answered a question over speculations that Turkey could send its S-400 air defense systems to Ukraine in defense against the Russian invasion. Turkey had deployed the Russian air defense systems in mid-2019 at the expense of drawing criticisms from NATO allies and being subject to Washington’s sanctions.

The minister denied the rumors and repeated that the S-400s would continue to be deployed in the Turkish territories. He also recalled that Turkey had to purchase these systems from Russia only after its demands to acquire such weapons were denied by the allied countries.

“We prefer to purchase them from the United States and from our allies. And if we cannot purchase from our allies, then I have to find another source,” he said, expressing regret over the length of time a deal between Turkey and its European neighbors has taken.

“Our region is not a safe haven ... so in this case, we are still working on other alternatives,” he said. “My country is a sovereign country, and I have to protect my country, and I have to purchase my needs from any possible country,” he added.

Çavuşoğlu reiterated Turkey’s continued efforts for peaceful resolution of the problems between Russia and Ukraine, vowing more diplomacy is needed to end the armed conflict.