Turkish banks are adopting Russian payments system, Erdogan says

Five Turkish banks have adopted Russia’s Mir payments system, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on his return from talks with President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

There are serious developments regarding the work that Turkish banks are doing on Russia’s Mir card, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency cited Erdogan as saying on the plane. That’s a relief for both Russian tourists and Turkey, he told reporters.

Payment in rubles will be a source of financial support for both Russia and Turkey, he said, adding the central bank governors of the two countries also met during the visit. Putin and Erdogan agreed to start moving to partial payment in rubles for deliveries of natural gas at talks in Sochi.

While Turkey voiced its opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has refrained from joining US and European sanctions on Russia. It has also continued to import energy from Russia, which provided a quarter of its crude oil imports and around 45% of its natural gas deliveries last year.

Russia has also provided much needed foreign-exchange liquidity to Turkey by transferring billions of dollars to a Turkey-based subsidiary of Rosatom for completion of a nuclear power plant’s construction on the Mediterranean coast.

Erdogan also said he will visit the Akkuyu nuclear plant, which has been at the centre of controversy, after a top Turkish contractor was removed by Russia’s state-run Rosatom. Neither Turkey nor Russia would accept a delay on the completion of the plant, Erdogan said.

Turkish ministries are also working to broker an agreement on Russian grain exports, Erdogan said. Scores of ships are stuck in ports dotted along the Black Sea. Ukraine made its first shipment of grain since Russia’s invasion on Aug. 1 and three more left Ukraine ports on Friday. –BLOOMBERG