Recently verified information from the Russian Customs Service has revealed that Turkey, a NATO member, has imported approximately $14.3 million worth of coal from territory in Ukraine that has been annexed by Russia.
Between February and July 2023, a total of around 160,400 tonnes of coal was exported from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, both of which are now under Russian control, to Turkey. This data comes from Russian customs records, confirming that the coal indeed originated from these Ukrainian regions.
Notably, unlike the United States and the European Union (EU), Turkey has not implemented any trade restrictions or sanctions against Russia or its occupied territories. While both the US and the EU have instructed companies to refrain from supporting Russia in its conflict with Ukraine, Turkey has maintained its trading relationship with Russia.
Turkey, despite being a NATO member, has consistently expressed support for Ukraine and has recognized its territorial integrity. Turkey has even played a key role in facilitating negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, particularly regarding grain exports through the Black Sea route.
The Turkish Ministry of Trade and Customs has yet to comment on this matter.
Commercial trade data providers have further revealed that at least ten producers were involved in shipping coal to Turkey between February and July. Turkey appears to be the largest importer of coal from Russian-annexed regions, accounting for 95% of all such shipments during this period.
Turkey, known for its significant coal consumption and imports, has defied global trends by increasing its reliance on coal for electricity generation. In the first half of this year, Turkey produced approximately 31.5 million megawatt-hours of electricity from imported coal, marking a 25% year-on-year increase from 2022.
It’s important to note that the buyers of the coal are companies registered in various offshore jurisdictions, including Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Belize, and the British Virgin Islands. No Turkish companies are listed as buyers in the customs data.