Kazakh trade with Turkey suffers after Russian-Turkish row

By bne IntelliNews November 30, 2015

Kazakhstan’s trade with Turkey is indirectly suffering amid the Russian-Turkish row caused by the downing of a Russian jetfighter by the Turkish armed forces on November 24. The incident has prompted Russia to introduce a set of anti-Turkish sanctions including abolishing a visa-free regime with Turkey (which is in fact hurting Russians rather than Turkish citizens) and creating problems for Turkish exporters.

Trucks carrying Turkish goods that are transported to Kazakhstan through Russia and Georgia were stopped at the Georgian-Russian border. They got stuck in a neutral zone between the customs points Kazbegi and Upper Lars waiting for permission to enter Russia. The trucks are from Kazakhstan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey, but all of them are carrying Turkish cargo.

This is another example when Kazakh foreign trade is being hostage to Russian politics. A similar situation happened after the West imposed sanctions on Russia following the Ukrainian conflict. Back then, EU-produced goods bound to Kazakhstan were stopped by Russian customs officials and occasionally destroyed.

Kazakhstan has been dependent on Russia in terms of transit of goods since the Soviet era. This gives Russia a huge leverage on the country but, at the same time, it pushes Astana to develop new routes via Iran and China.

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