Turkey expands Russian payment system to help tourists, says minister – Middle East Monitor

Turkiye is expanding the Russian payment system, “MIR”, and ensuring that Russian tourists in the country are not hampered in their transactions, as Russia and its citizens remain cut off from the global financial system and more expansive payment methods .

Speaking to reporters ahead of a cabinet meeting in the capital, Ankara, on Monday, Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati said the Russians “cannot use Troy [Turkish payment system] abroad, but the MIR card is very widely used and gaining popularity.”

He assured that there is a large market for Russians using the card in Turkey and that it is growing, stating that “the rate of companies accepting MIR cards was around 15%, and banks are giving out more at this time. There won’t be any problem for Russian tourists.”

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February, the country was heavily sanctioned by Western states and cut off from the SWIFT payment system, preventing banks and citizens from easily accessing and transferring money within the global financial system through the network of banks that use it around the world.

Russians have also been barred from using Visa and MasterCard payment methods, which are among the largest and most important, leaving them with fewer and limited options. Along with alternative non-Western payment methods such as Chinese UnionPay, the existence of the MIR payment method is said to have saved many Russians both at home and abroad.

OPINION: Russia dares to destroy the current world order, like Daesh and others before it

MIR owes its roots to efforts since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, when oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin suffered under sanctions and knew they had to form alternative systems to enable international financial transactions.

Moscow has therefore had eight years to prepare for the wave of sanctions imposed on it and its pariah of the international community and the MIR system is operational in Turkey, Armenia, Vietnam and some other countries.

The Turkish banks that accept the system – and have therefore enjoyed massive increases in income in recent months – are the private lender, Işbank, and the public banks VakıfBank and Ziraat Bank.

Accommodation and expansion of the Russian payment system in Turkey has allowed Russian tourists to continue to travel, visit and stay in the country despite their government’s ongoing military offensive in Ukraine and condemnation from Western countries and Europeans.

Throughout the war, Ankara remained neutral and attempted to maintain a mediating role. Continuing direct flights to and from Russia and encouraging Russian tourists is one of them. However, he repeatedly urged Moscow to stop its offensive and agree to a ceasefire, while sending aid to Ukraine.

OPINION: Turkey’s balancing act between Russia and Ukraine

Comments are closed.