The Turkish banking system has faced a massive influx of Russian customers after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a mobilization in the country. The flow of clients from Russia has grown so much that Turkish banks are unable to cope with it and sometimes even use far-fetched pretexts to refuse to open an account for Russians. It is reported by RBC with reference to Russians and market representatives who help Russians open accounts abroad.
“After the announcement of partial mobilization in Russia, the number of Russians coming to Turkey and trying to open a card has increased significantly. Due to fatigue, not all bank employees want to serve Russians, ”said one of the intermediaries helping Russians get cards.
The publication cites as an example the experience of a Russian who had to go around about 15 Turkish bank offices before he found a branch where he could open an account and get a bank card. According to him, office employees were looking for various pretexts not to contact the Russian: they claimed that they did not open accounts for foreigners, they demanded a protective deposit of $5,000 or a non-refundable commission of 2,000 Turkish liras (about $107). Denizbank turned out to be the most loyal to the Russians, where they agreed to issue a card and an account, subject to opening a deposit in the amount of 10,000 liras ($537).
The chances of opening a card in Turkey increase if the Russians try to do it through intermediaries who have established contacts in banks. This option is also preferable for the bankers themselves, who are forced to overcome the language barrier and Russians' lack of knowledge of local laws. Thus, local banks save time for processing one client by about three times: an hour for a client with an intermediary versus 3 hours for a client without an intermediary. True, the intermediary will have to pay an average of $150-200 for supporting the issuance of a bank card.
In addition to the private Denizbank, the state-owned Ziraat Bank and Vakıf Bank are relatively loyal to visiting Russians. At the same time, according to local laws, the bank does not have the right to refuse to open an account in principle, which many Russians do not suspect. And bank managers successfully use gaps in the knowledge of Russians to deny them services. The number of such cases, according to the mediators, increased sharply after the announcement of the mobilization.
After the outbreak of the Russian war against Ukraine, Turkey has become one of the main beneficiaries of the crisis. Local businesses have increased the supply of products to Russia, the country has become a transport hub that is used to provide gray (parallel) imports, Turkey has also received funds for the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant from the Russian state corporation Rosatom and has repeatedly discussed with Russia the increase in energy supplies. Moreover, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan verbally agreed to create a gas hub in Turkey. The US and the EU are unhappy with Turkey's position, suspecting that it is helping Russia to circumvent sanctions. Representatives of Western countries have already held tough negotiations with the Turkish establishment several times, the result of some of which was the complete refusal of Turkish banks to use Russian cards of the Mir system.