Turkey has stopped the transit of sanctioned goods to Russia abruptly this month.

The Turkish government ordered a halt to the transit of such goods via Turkey from 1 March in compliance with sanctions imposed by the West because of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the CFTS portal reports, citing Bloomberg.

"The cargo clearance system in Turkey simply stopped working," said the co-owner of a Moscow-based door-to-door shipping, customs clearance, and general freight company that works through Turkey.

According to Bloomberg, Turkey has emerged as one of the havens for Russian wealth and a center for sourcing goods over the past year because of the sanctions. Turkey’s exports to Russia rose to USD 9.3 billion in 2022 from USD 5.8 billion a year earlier.

Turkey’s stance is linked to the EU expanding sanctions on Russia, said Mustafa Boyacioglu, the chief executive officer of Istanbul-based customs brokerage Subasi, confirming the blockage. He said there had been no formal announcement nor a transitory period, triggering confusion among companies.

As the CFTS portal reported, Russian truckers increased their international transport volumes in 2022 despite Western sanctions and restrictions. They compensated for their losses in Europe in the second half of the year, thanks primarily to China and Turkey.

In addition, Russia increased flour exports 3.3-fold in 2022. Turkey was one of the leading importers of Russian flour, accounting for 10.5% of Russia’s total flour exports.