Hamburg - Mittelweg 144
+49 40 593 61 953

Russia earns billions selling oil to EU via Türkiye, Politico reports

Der politische Arm der aktiven Zivilgesellschaft in Europa

Russia earns billions selling oil to EU via Türkiye, Politico reports

Türkiye disguises Russian oil as its own and exports it to the EU, bringing Russia billions in profits by exploiting a loophole in sanctions.

Source: Politico 

Research by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) and the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD), and Politico’s independent reports, show that Russian oil appears to be flowing into the EU via Türkiye in large quantities.

A CSD’s senior energy analyst says Türkiye has become a strategic stopover for Russian fuel products being redirected to the EU, generating hundreds of millions in tax revenues for the Kremlin.

From February 2023 to February 2024, Türkiye increased its purchases from Russia by 105% compared to the previous 12 months. During the same period, Turkish fuel exports to the EU jumped by 107%.

„That doesn’t mean every fuel cargo arriving in the EU from Turkey is Russian. Turkey has refineries that can process almost 1 million barrels of crude per day. And Turkish firms are also likely reselling some non-Russian fuel to the EU,“ the report says.

Overall, the scheme through which Russian fuel reaches the EU is linked to a loophole in sanctions. Despite restrictions, there is permission to import „blended“ fuel into the EU if it is labelled as non-Russian.

According to research, this scheme brought Moscow up to €3 billion from just three ports (Ceyhan, Marmara Ereğlisi, and Mersin) in the 12 months after the EU banned Russian fuel in February 2023.

For instance, the southeastern port of Ceyhan has limited road and rail connections to refineries, giving it few means to receive large fuel shipments other than tankers docked at its terminals.

From February 2023 to 2024, the port received approximately 22 million barrels of fuel, 92% of which came from Russia, triple the amount it imported from Moscow the previous year. During the same period, 85% of fuel exports from the port went to the EU.

A similar situation is occurring at the western port of Marmara Ereğlisi and the southern port of Mersin. Both ports demonstrated similar annual spikes in Russian imports – doubling in Marmara Ereğlisi and tripling in Mersin – coinciding with a surge in exports to the EU.

Customs authorities in Greece, one of the largest importers of such fuel, have stated that they conduct „appropriate controls both at the customs clearance stage and afterwards“ and that „to date, no violations have been detected“.

However, the publication explains that in practice, a document indicating the origin of the cargo, called a „certificate of origin,“ is verified. Importing fuel with Russian documents is largely illegal under EU law, but simply rebranding Türkiye’s old shipments with a new Turkish certificate is not.

Support UP or become our patron!