Russian oligarchs go to Turkey, where they can enjoy their super yachts and obtain Turkish passports.
Many Western countries have imposed sanctions to make life more difficult for Russian oligarchs. Not Turkey. The Russian elite continue their comfortable jet set lives without a thought for the war of aggression their country is waging against Ukraine.
At the beginning of the war, the West believed that targeting the Russian elite would lead to anger and an internal revolt and demands for changes in Putin’s regime and in the view of the war against Ukraine. That’s not the way things went.
The number of oligarchs who have experienced sanctions is small. Unfortunately, there are several places in the world that have opened their doors to these oligarchs. Turkey is one of those nations that has publicly invited Russian billionaires to come to the country. So now a fleet of Russian superyachts is sitting off the beautiful beaches along the Turkish coast with owners spending their billions in Turkey while enjoying the sun and life far from bombings and Russian state television. New numbers show that the Russians are the largest group doing business in Turkey and the number of newly started Russian companies has increased eightfold since 2021. In other words, there is a huge flow of money from Russia to Turkey.
In addition, you only need to invest a little under three million Danish kroner ($400,000) in a property, a drop in the ocean for a multi-billionaire, to get a Turkish passport – a passport that – voila – allows you to travel freely despite sanctions. It is probably not entirely coincidental that there has been a huge growth in Russians investing in Turkish properties and in Russians being issued Turkish passports since the start of the war in Ukraine.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan balances between being a NATO member country supplying Ukraine with weapons and having a close connection with Russia.
Can we expect changes if the Western and democratically inclined presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu wins the presidential election after the May 14? Does it matter for the Russian oligarchs? Western countries have been careful not to speak out about Turkey, maybe because they do not want to risk influencing the political discourse before the election. Regardless of who wins the presidency, I hope Western nations will put pressure on Turkey and demand change.
Past beliefs that sanctions bring change and forces Russia to change course needs to be reevaluated. Stricter initiatives must be imposed – but as long as powerful nations like Turkey, Germany and France are reluctant when it comes to taking a stand against Russia’s war against Ukraine, we will not see any changes – not even after the Turkish election.
Nato-land spiller på to heste: Tyrkiet balancerer mellem Putin og missiler til Ukraine
Russiske oligarker valfarter til Tyrkiet, hvor de kan have deres luksusyachts og få tyrkisk pas.