Turkish businessmen nervous over Crimea rift

Turkish businessmen nervous over Crimea rift

Torn between Russia and the West, Turkey would be directly affected by further sanctions on Russia, private sector representatives have warned.

Turkish businessmen are concerned about the impact of the increased tensions in Eastern Europe after Crimea’s secession from Ukraine that escalated the already-hot rift between Russia and the West.
“There is a Turkey that wants to be an EU member, while there is another Turkey that has good trade relationships with Russia and imports gas from there,” said Ender Yorgancılar, deputy head of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) and chairman of the Aegean Chamber of Industry.

“We are one of the countries that would be directly affected by potential sanctions,” he stated, stressing that Turkey is in a strategically delicate position in any possible conflict between Russia and the West, as both parties are important allies for the country.

On March 17, the United States and the EU imposed sanctions on a handful of Russian and Ukrainian officials accused of involvement in Moscow’s seizure of the Black Sea peninsula.

Yorgancılar said it was uncertain whether the sanctions would be expanded to more businessmen and how Russia would react, adding that this uncertainty was taking its toll on markets and jittery investors.

Aegean Exporters Union Head Mustafa Türkmenoğlu said the impact of the uncertainty had been limited for now, but warned of potential repercussions on commercial ties.

“We don’t have problems in trade ties for now, but of course a potential Russia-Ukraine dispute would affect peace and stability in the region adversely. This could lead to tensions between these countries, with which we have close trade relationships,” he said.

Türkmenoğlu also said Turkish businessmen were closely watching the Crimea situation to see whether Western sanctions would be applied on Russia, one of their biggest markets.