For the primary time, Turkey’s vitality minister has brazenly questioned the need for a brand new pure gasoline hub steered by Russian President Vladimir Putin final yr.
On Thursday, Power Minister Alparslan Bayraktar knowledgeable a gathering of reporters that Turkey already had a working gasoline buying and selling platform.
Putin first raised the thought of making “a gas hub in Turkey for supplies to other countries” throughout talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan within the Kazakh capital Astana final October.
Erdogan then instructed his authorities to start out quick preparations for “an international distribution centre” in Turkey.
The plan sparked prompt concern within the European Union, which is now making an attempt to cut back its reliance on Russian vitality in response to Putin’s assault on Ukraine.
It additionally strengthened Washington’s issues that NATO member Turkey was cosying as much as Russia, regardless of its supposedly impartial posture within the battle and sale of weaponry to Ukraine.
Nonetheless, the thought seems to have made little progress within the months thereafter.
Putin has subsequently said that he’s extra occupied with constructing an digital buying and selling platform in Turkey than in storing actual gasoline.
On Thursday, Bayraktar questioned the necessity for such an alternate.
“Everybody is missing an important point,” he stated.
“We have a very well-functioning power exchange as well as a gas exchange,” he stated.
“Do we want a further buying and selling platform? We will have that, no drawback.
“But what we suggest to our Russian colleagues is that they analyse the power exchange (that exists) today.”
‘Kind of a pause’
He stated there was “kind of a pause” in discussions when Turkey was hit by a devastating February earthquake, after which whereas the nation held two rounds of presidential elections in Could.
“But we are in talks,” he stated.
Russia at present ships gasoline to Turkey by way of two pipelines operating underneath the Black Sea.
Turkey sends a few of that gasoline to southeastern European nations, reminiscent of Hungary and Greece.
But it surely additionally relies upon closely on Russian imports due to Turkey’s restricted home vitality sources.
Moscow is at present setting up a nuclear energy plant on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast that might ultimately cut back the nation’s dependence on international gasoline imports.
Bayraktar stated the “main construction work” had completed on the primary of the Russian plant’s 4 reactors.
“It is moving well,” he stated.
Turkey has been speaking to Russia’s Rosatom state nuclear vitality firm about constructing a second energy plant within the Black Sea metropolis of Sinop.
However he pressured that Turkey was additionally open to presents from South Korean corporations in addition to these in China seeking to construct “small modular reactors”.
“We are discussing (Sinop) with all the interested countries,” Bayraktar stated.