Turkey’s three state banks have suspended the use of the Russian Mir payment system, Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati said on Thursday, putting an end to the use of the cards in Turkey.
On September 16, private Turkish lenders Is Bankasi and Denizbank had also announced that they would suspend accepting Mir cards, a payment system that Russia developed when Visa and Mastercard exited the country as a response to the war in Ukraine.
“The decision was made under unprecedented pressure from the United States. Moscow and Ankara need to jointly look for ways to counter this,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.
Last week, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan asked the relevant ministries to work out alternatives to Mir in the country, which is currently the only type of credit card that Russian tourists can use.
“The situation is complex, and, of course, we need to jointly look for ways to counter this pressure in such a way so as not to harm our trade and economic cooperation and to not deprive the many millions of Russian tourists who visit Turkey every year during comfortable conditions,” Peskov said.
President Erdogan earlier said he would conduct a telephone call with Russia’s Vladimir Putin later on Thursday and would discuss issues.
Russia has become the second market for the Turkish tourism sector as more than three million Russian tourists visited Turkey in the first eight months of this year, according to official figures from the Turkish ministry of tourism.
A tourism professional said Turkey’s exit from the Mir system will not exert pressure on the travel agencies or hotels, since Russian tourists pay most of their expenses in advance, before coming to Turkey.
“The average expenditure of a Russian tourist while in Turkey is around 200 dollars. We think they may bring this much with them in cash,” said Cem Polatoglu, spokesperson for Tour Operators Platform.