In Turkey, the newly arrived Russians are struggling to make deposits and money transfers through Turkish banks, which have taken a cautious and cautious stance for fear of violating Western sanctions against Moscow, according to several sources.
Private banks in particular are denying the requests of some of their customers, while others are applying additional compatibility regulations to ensure that they do not violate international and domestic laws, banking sources and Turkish officials told Reuters.
This stance discourages some Russians who arrived in Turkey after the Russian invasion of Ukraine three weeks ago, many with large sums in their pockets. Many Russians have left Russia either because they oppose the war or to avoid new restrictive measures in their own country and have headed to countries in the Middle East and the Caucasus.
Russians in Istanbul have said they have difficulty accessing basic banking services, in part because of the suspension of Visa and Mastercard services as part of US sanctions against the Putin regime.
“I was able to bring dollars from Moscow and exchange them here. But I do not have a card yet,” said Philip Chekhov, a Russian who recently arrived in Istanbul.
Looking for alternative ways to pay for services such as accommodation, many Russians have tried to open accounts in Turkish banks, as Turkey maintains good relations with Moscow and opposes sanctions imposed by its NATO allies.
But, although they should practically not face more difficulties than other foreigners, dealing with banks proved to be difficult.
“Especially private banks are very careful about new Russian deposits and are afraid of sanctions,” said an unnamed senior banking source, adding that the banking authentication rule applicable to the banking sector was crucial.
“The problem is not opening an account, but rather how the money is poured in and what will happen if sanctions are applied. Banks are careful about new accounts,” he said.
The Banking Regulatory Authority told Reuters that authorities and financial institutions were closely monitoring the sanctions imposed on Russia. “But our service does not have instructions to restrict citizens from any country that is not subject to sanctions.”