Landfill discovery reveals Turkey mulling Moscow’s anti-sanctions network - Bloomberg

A Russian government document found dumped in a landfill near Moscow has revealed urgent talks in July between Ankara and Moscow to connect Turkish lenders and companies to the Russian central bank’s alternative to the global SWIFT financial messaging system.

Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev confirmed the talks, which took place soon after Turkey risked the threat of U.S. sanctions by procuring the Russian S-400 air-defence missile system last month, Bloomberg said, citing Russia’s Baza news service.

“The feasibility of signing a memorandum at these negotiations was discussed, it was decided that we need to work on it and now we are working on it,” it quoted Moiseev a saying. “Depending on what will be in the memorandum, we will proceed.”

The Russian alternative to the SWIFT system was established by the Bank of Russia in 2014 as part of an effort to both reduce what it called external risks and protect against the threat of being ousted from the from the global SWIFT service. 

A senior Turkish Treasury official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also confirmed the meeting took place, Bloomberg said.

The urgent meeting arrived amid ongoing tensions between Ankara and Washington over Turkey’s refusal to cancel the purchase of the Russian S-400 system. Washington has ejected Turkey out of the F-35 programme and threatens sanctions for the purchase under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which bars U.S. allies from buying weapons from Moscow. 

The United States and its NATO allies see the system as incompatible with NATO systems and posing a security threat to the F-35 stealth fighter.

Turkey’s procurement of the Russian defence hardware has rung alarm bells for NATO with analysts questioning Turkey’s place in the alliance and ties to the West.