16.4 C
Frankfurt am Main

Turkey is helping Russia earn billions by relabeling fuel and selling it to EU: report

Must read

A loophole in EU sanctions has allowed Russia to earn up to €3 billion by selling relabeled fuel through Turkey, POLITICO reported on Tuesday.

According to the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) and POLITICO, Russia has been exporting oil products to the EU via Turkey. This is possible due to a loophole in EU sanctions that allows “mixed” fuels if they are labeled as non-Russian. This circumvention has reportedly earned Moscow up to €3 billion from three ports alone in the 12 months after the EU banned Russian fuels in February 2023.

The scheme shines a spotlight on Russia’s tactics to evade EU sanctions in order to maintain its fossil fuel trade, which is crucial to funding its military. Last year, POLITICO reported that Russia earned an additional €1 billion through a loophole in EU sanctions in Bulgaria.

Turkey’s role in this trade comes amid deteriorating relations with the EU over its ties with Russia. Since the start of the war, Turkey has offered to become a gas hub for Russia while increasing its oil imports. The latest findings have prompted calls for tougher sanctions, while the EU has been discussing the bloc’s 14th Russia sanctions package.

Before the invasion, the EU sourced a quarter of its crude oil imports and 40 percent of its diesel fuel from Russia. After the bloc banned both in 2022, Turkey increased its Russian fuel imports by 105 percent from February 2023 to February 2024, while its fuel exports to the EU increased by 107 percent.

The research by CREA, CSD and POLITICO suggests that much of the Russian fuel imported to Turkish ports such as Ceyhan is re-exported to the EU under new names. From February 2023 to 2024, Ceyhan imported 22 million barrels of fuel, 92 percent from Russia, and 85 percent of its exports went to the EU.

Other Turkish ports, Marmara Ereğlisi and Mersin, also saw a significant increase in Russian imports and exports to the EU.

Analysts suspect that Turkey’s actions are due to stalled EU accession efforts and the economic benefits of cheaper Russian oil in the face of high inflation and currency depreciation. The Turkish Energy Ministry did not respond to POLITICO’s requests for comment.

As the EU mulls its latest sanctions package, POLITICO cited an anonymous EU diplomat as suggesting tightening rules on Russian fuel imports from non-EU countries and sanctioning Turkish exporters.

Liked it? Take a second to support Turkish Minute on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!
More News
Latest News