A second superyacht linked to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich docked at a Turkish resort on Tuesday, and sources familiar with the discussions said he and other wealthy Russians wanted to invest elsewhere in Turkey amid sanctions .
Western governments have imposed sanctions on Abramovich and several other Russian oligarchs trying to isolate President Vladimir Putin and his allies over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
While Turkey has harshly criticized the invasion, it has said it fundamentally opposes the sanctions imposed by its NATO allies.
That could make it a potential safe haven for Russians looking to invest and preserve assets.
Eclipse, which at 162.5 meters (533 feet) is one of the largest yachts in the world, docked in the resort of Marmaris in southwest Turkey after circumnavigating Greek islands, according to a Reuters witness and tracking data. It sails under a Bermuda flag.
The ship is said to have two helipads, nine decks, a swimming pool and built-in missile defense.
Solaris, another Abramovich-linked superyacht, arrived in the resort of Bodrum some 80 km (50 miles) away a day earlier, after also avoiding the waters of European Union countries that have sanctioned the oligarchs.
They are among a number of yachts owned by Abramovich, according to reports in luxury goods publications SuperYachtFan, SuperYacht and Forbes.
Abramovich, the owner of English football club Chelsea, was in Istanbul briefly last week, according to flight tracking data and people familiar with the trips. There was no indication that he was on board either yacht.
A source in Ankara with knowledge of recent talks with Abramovich said he and other wealthy Russians want to invest in Turkey amid sanctions imposed elsewhere.
“He wants to do some work and maybe buy assets,” the source said, adding that the oligarch already had some assets in Turkey. The source did not give details.
Another source in Ankara said Turkey is not currently considering joining sanctions and expects wealthy Russians to buy assets and make investments.
“We are sensitive when it comes to bringing oligarchs’ money into Turkey,” the person said.
A spokesman for Abramovich did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The foreign and interior ministries did not immediately comment on whether western governments had asked Turkey to seize sanctioned assets. Last week, the banking regulator told Reuters that it is monitoring sanctions imposed on Russia but has not instructed banks to restrict a country’s citizens.
A small group of people on a motorboat protested off Solaris as it docked, holding Ukrainian flags reading “No War,” footage shared by the expat association Ukrainians in Bodrum showed.
For now, with the arrival of Eclipse and Solaris, Abramovich has more than $1.2 billion of his fortune stationed in Turkey, with each ship being worth an estimated $600 million or more. Yachts linked to Russia are stuck in several countries, including Italy, Spain and Germany.
Sanctions are tricky for Turkey, which has close trade and diplomatic ties with both Russia and Ukraine. Critics of President Tayyip Erdogan’s government have said the balancing act could leave it vulnerable internationally.
“Anchoring in Turkish marinas of yachts embargoed in European countries could put Turkey in a difficult situation on the international arena,” Utku Cakirozer, an MP for the main opposition party CHP, told Reuters.
After meeting Erdogan in Ankara on Tuesday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he supports Turkey’s role in maintaining dialogue with both Ukraine and Russia.
“Turkey is doing everything it can do. It’s one of the few open ties we have with both of them,” he said at a news conference.
“We would be very committed to Turkey implementing all sanctions, but I think we must also be content with Turkey playing its diplomatic role.”
Russia is calling its invasion a “special military operation” aimed at disarming Ukraine and removing allegedly dangerous nationalists from the government. Ukraine and Western allies say it is a false pretext for an unprovoked war.
Turkey has tried to broker a ceasefire and peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv.
The 140-metre Solaris, also flying the Bermuda flag, remained moored in Bodrum on Tuesday, a week after leaving Montenegro’s Adriatic resort of Tivat.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/22/roman-abramovichs-second-superyacht-docks-in-turkey/ Roman Abramovich’s second superyacht docks in Turkey