ANKARA - Turkish lender Halkbank will continue to handle customers' oil payments to Iran as long as they comply with international regulations, the bank's general manager said in the wake of fresh, unilateral US and EU sanctions.
Halkbank's dealings with Iran drew attention last year when Indian refiners disclosed they were channeling oil payments through the Turkish bank as their own central bank had shut its payment facility, fearing US retribution.
General Manager Suleyman Aslan denied there had been US pressure to stop handling transactions, as the bank was not acting illegally. He said a decision to reject an application from another Indian refiner late last year was unrelated to its trade deals with Iran.
In an interview with Reuters Aslan said "communication channels" with all sides, including the United States, were open and that apart from India, the bank was not handling payments to Iran from any other third country.