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Turkey distances itself from Russia on the creation of a “gas hub”

For the first time, the Turkish energy minister questioned the interest in creating a gas transit hub with Russia, which proposed last year by Vladimir Putin to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Everyone seems to be unaware that we already have a gas and electricity exchange facility that works well every day: do we really need another platform?”said Minister Alparslan Bayraktar to some journalists, including an AFP journalist, as relayed by the Athens Agency.

“We sell gas to Bulgaria, Hungary. THE Turkey it is already a reliable transit country” for gas, Bayraktar insisted in a speech yesterday, Thursday, in Ankara.

Following the ministry’s request, his conversation with journalists was embargoed until this morning.

Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed last October to Turkish President Erdogan to create a “gas hub” for exports to Europe and third countrieson the sidelines of a regional summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The Turkish head of state had assured the next day that work on “an international distribution center” would begin without delay.

“There will be no waiting on this issue”, he had declared, clarifying that this possible “node” could be built in the region of eastern Thrace, on Turkey’s borders with Bulgaria and Greece.

The idea was received very negatively by the Europeans, who saw in it a way for Turkey to increase its purchases from Russia, while they were trying to limit theirs.

“It makes no sense for us to create new infrastructure that would allow more Russian gas to be imported,” Paris had underlined.

Vladimir Putin later corrected his remarks, saying he had more in mind an e-commerce platform than a physical gas storage facility.

Something that the minister yesterday seemed to put aside as well.

According to him, things were delayed after Astana “because of the earthquake (which hit southern Turkey on February 6) and then because of the elections: let’s say we took a break, but we are in talks,” he added.

Russia already makes deliveries to Turkey through the TurkStream gas pipeline that crosses the Black Sea.

Turkey, whose gas needs are colossal – 90% covered by imports – has made efforts to diversify its supply and “imports from ten different countries”, Bayraktar recalled, citing Algeria and Qatar and soon Israel.

“I talked about it with the Israeli energy minister and (President) Erdogan will talk with the Israeli prime minister,” he added.

Source: News Beast

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