Documents showing Turkey’s plans to join Russian SWIFT alternative found in dump near Moscow

In July, Russia and Turkey held urgent negotiations on the possibility of connecting Turkish companies and banks to the Bank of Russia’s System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS), an alternative to the internationally used SWIFT system.

On Monday, the Telegram channel Baza published photos of documents found at a dump near Moscow, one of which mentions nogatiations conducted by the Russian Finance Ministry to organize payments in national currencies, including support for the Russian “Mir” payment cards in Turkey and the linking of Turkish banks and companies to the SPFS. Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev confirmed to Bloomberg that such negotiations had taken place.

“We discussed the feasibility of signing a memorandum during these talks, and decided that we need to work on it, and now we are working on it,” Moiseev said on the phone, “Now we need to sign a memorandum, and later, depending on what is in the memorandum, we will be guided by it.”

The SFPS was created by Russia in order to minimize external risks and ensure that there is uninterrupted transmission of financial messages in the SWIFT formats. In July, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed legislative changes that allowed the Bank of Russia to connect foreigners to the SPFS. According to Moiseev, a memorandum to connect Chinese banks to the SFPS has already been signed, and technical consultations are currently underway.

In recent years, Russia has significantly reduced its use of the US dollar in international trade and in national reserves in the wake of US sanctions and threats to restrict dollar transactions by Russia’s major banks. In November 2018, Putin revealed that the deal to sell Turkey S-400 aerial defense systems had not been made in dollars.

The Turkish bank Turkiye Is Bankasi will be adopting the Russian Mir cards, and Russia expects that cooperation between the two countries’ regulators will make it possible for other Turkish banks to use them too, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in July.

The Russian Finance Ministry said that it had requested an explanation from the companies that collect the ministry’s solid waste.

  Russia, Turkey, SWIFT