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MFA responds to claims about Turkish banks serving Abkhazian cards

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, December 23
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the card of the occupied Abkhazia Apra, which will be served by Turkish banks, is a Russian tax card МИР. According to the agency, we are dealing with Russia's attempt to present occupied territory as the so-called independent state by popularizing the Russian-made card Apra.

"The Apra card is nothing more than a Russian MIR tax card, which the occupation regime calls the Apra in the Abkhaz region and is represented as an Abkhaz card," the agency said. The ministry said that the system only records Russian card MIR and it’s technically difficult to identify the location where a specific card that’s attached to MIR was produced.

According to them, the same information is confirmed by the Turkish partners with whom communication has already taken place.

"Consequently, we continue to work closely with all partner countries on this issue. As you know, the whole international community, especially our strategic partners, strongly support Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. All of them pursue a policy of non-recognition of the occupied territories and work closely with us to eliminate any illegal attempts by Russia,” the ministry announced.

In occupied Abkhazia, two of Turkey's largest banks are said to have started servicing local National Bank APRA World cards - Is Bank and Ziraat Bank, which also have branches in the territories controlled by Georgia.

According to Is Bank's website, the bank has a total of 2 branches and 4 ATMs in Georgia - in Batumi and Tbilisi. As for Ziraat Bank, the website states that the bank has 2 branches in Kutaisi and Batumi

According to the Abkhaz side, in particular, the de facto National Bank, the Abkhazian plastic bank cards Apra are already served by two major Turkish banks - Is Bank and Ziraat Bank.

Roman Gotsiridze, a member of the United National Movement and former president of the National Bank of Georgia, recalled the measures taken during his tenure.

According to him, as soon as the Russian VTB Bank decided to open its ATM in Sokhumi, he called their management in Moscow and warned that this would lead to the revocation of the license for their bank in Tbilisi. “14 years have passed since then and this bank is not present in Abkhazia,” he wrote on Facebook, adding that the National Bank of Georgia should have reacted immediately. Gotsiridze also recalled that back in his term, NBG would inform the FATF (International Organization for the Prevention of Money Laundering).