A US intelligence agent inquired about confidential details of real estate deals, a Turkish paper reports
The Central Intelligence Agency has “openly” threatened Turkish businessmen for trading with Russia, prying into their real estate deals over concerns about the potential circumvention of US sanctions, Yeni Safak daily reported on Friday.
The paper has learned that the CIA’s Turkey office chief allegedly called high-ranking construction-company employees, inquiring about transactions and other confidential details of recent real-estate purchases involving Russian entities or individuals.
According to the report, the CIA officer interviewed businessmen under the guise of monitoring the US-imposed anti-Russia sanctions. He was interested to know the exact number of “houses sold to Russians,” what channels and currency were used for transactions, and whether the payments were made through a bank or cash-in-hand.
Another example of what has been described by Turkish media as “meddling in the affairs that are out of [US authorities’] duty” was a letter reportedly sent by US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo to the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD) on August 22.
According to the outlet, Adeyemo had threatened to impose sanctions on TUSIAD members involved in doing business with Russia. The association confirmed the letter without disclosing its content, noting that it had shared it with the Turkish foreign and finance ministries.
It comes amid mounting concerns among Western nations about Turkey’s expanding trade and energy cooperation with Russia, and deepening ties between the two nations that could help Moscow bypass sanctions imposed by the US and EU over the conflict in Ukraine.
Last week, Adeyemo had a phone conversation with Turkish Deputy Finance Minister Yunus Elitas, during which he “raised concerns that Russian entities and individuals are attempting to use Turkey to evade sanctions put in place by the United States and 30 countries,” the US Treasury Department’s readout said.
Turkey responded by saying it would not allow the “breaching” of American sanctions, while maintaining its “balanced” position on the Ukrainian conflict.
Though Turkey has condemned Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, it remains the only NATO member which has not imposed sanctions on Moscow or closed airspace for Russian flights.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had previously positioned himself as a middleman between Ukraine and Russia. Turkey hosted ultimately unsuccessful peace talks in March but later helped broker an agreement to resume shipments of Ukrainian grain to world markets via the Black Sea.
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