Ukranian crisis ‘mars’ Turkey-Russia trade

Ukranian crisis ‘mars’ Turkey-Russia trade

TRABZON - Anadolu Agency
Ukranian crisis ‘mars’ Turkey-Russia trade

Georgian government provides a limited number of transit permit for Turkish exporters, causing exports to Russia to stagnate. DHA Photo

Turkey’s exports to Russia have been marred by the crisis in Ukraine as merchants’ decision to reroute trade to Russia through Georgia have led to heavy congestion, the head of a Black Sea exporters’ union has said.

“Turkish exporters have to use the Kazbegi-Verkhny Lars border gate, between Georgia and Russia, as that is the only legally functioning border-crossing to export to Russia after diplomatic reactions and the perceived danger of war between Russia and Ukraine,” said Eastern Black Sea Exporters Union head Ahmet Hamdi Gürdoğan.

He said Turkish exporters, who used to transport their goods by sea or via Ukraine, have begun to seek new routes after the crisis in Ukraine.

The Kazbegi-Verkhny Lars border gate has emerged as a feasible alternative for Turkish exporters to bypass problems in Ukraine, Gürdoğan said.

However, he complained that the Georgian government had only provided a limited number of transit pass permits to Turkish firms, causing “Turkey’s transit trade to the Russian Federation to come to a standstill.”

He said the negotiations for receiving permits as soon as possible were ongoing and that Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazıcı “is working hard to solve the issue.”

“Even an hour, a day is very important for us,” he said.

“Turkish authorities made great efforts to effect the opening of the Kazbegi-Verkhny Lars checkpoint. Georgian and foreign national vehicles’ entering Russia by using this gate, while we’re looking from behind, is a great source of sorrow for us,” he also said, noting that Turkish transporters and exporters should have been prioritized.

Putin’s annexation of Crimea, which Kyiv and the West say is illegitimate, has strained relations among a number of countries.

Moscow is giving signals that it will not make it easy for Ukraine to distance itself from Russia and Ukraine is already feeling some consequences deterioriation of the relationship.