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The US and European Union authorities are mounting pressure on Turkey over sanctions on Russia, the Financial Times has reported. 

The development comes in response to concerns that the Turkish banking system could be used to circumvent those sanctions. 

According to two western officials privy to the discussions, the US is targeting Turkish lenders that have integrated into the Russian payment system, Mir. 

Meanwhile, the EU is preparing a delegation to voice its concerns to Turkish authorities directly, the publication said. 

The move comes as the US and its allies try to ensure proper implementation of existing sanctions rather than imposing new ones. 

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“You are going to see us kind of focus on financial sector evasion,” the first western official was quoted by the publication as saying. 

“We will send a message very clearly that, for example, third-country financial institutions should not be interconnecting with the Mir payment network because, you know, that carries some sanctions-evasion risks.”

“We need to close loopholes,” emphasised the second official. 

According to the US Treasury department’s latest guidance, non-US financial institutions “risk supporting Russia’s efforts to evade US sanctions through the expanded use of the MIR National Payment System outside the territory of the Russian Federation.” 

The regulator said it is prepared to impose blocking sanctions on those supporting Russia in evading sanctions. 

Leading banking players in Turkey, VakıfBank, Ziraat Bank, İş Bank, DenizBank and Halkbank are members of the Russian payment system. 

Notably, DenizBank, a private bank and Halkbank, a government-backed bank signed up to Mir after Russia launched its military offensive against Ukraine in late February.