According to official Turkish sources couriers carrying millions of dollars worth in gold have become a common sight at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport. Couriers fly the gold from Turkey to Dubai, where it is then shipped to Iran.
Gold has become a safe haven for Iranians as they were virtually shut out of the global banking system. Tough sanctions on Iran’s nuclear plans have forced the country to use gold to conduct international transactions. As a reaction Turkey’s sales in gold to the UAE have increased while exports to Iran have sunk. The exports continue via Dubai and amounted to $2.3 billion worth just in August.
While the gold trade does not violate any international sanctions, it might jeopardize Turkey’s relationship with its most valuable Iran enemy – the EU.