Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan says state-owned Halkbank will press ahead with processing payments for Turkey’s purchase of oil and gas from Iran.
“The state of Iran has accounts with Halkbank and we deposit the payments for the oil and gas purchased to these accounts … Halkbank will continue to carry out this function,” Bloomberg HT Television quoted Babacan as saying on Wednesday.
The Turkish official’s remarks come against the backdrop of the arrest of Halkbank general manager Suleyman Aslan as part of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown on corruption.
Halkbank has repeatedly supported its transactions with Iran, saying they are entirely lawful.
Iran is Turkey’s second biggest gas supplier after Russia. Turkey uses a significant portion of its imported Iranian natural gas to generate electricity.
Turkey has been buying crude oil and natural gas from Iran through a system whereby Iranian vendors receive payments in Halkbank accounts.
Erdogan is planning to visit Iran later this month as the two countries seek to upgrade ties.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Turkey on Saturday and met with Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
During the Zarif-Erdogan meeting, Iran and Turkey underlined their determination to boost the value of bilateral trade.
During a visit to Tehran in November, Davutoglu said his country can become an energy corridor for its eastern oil- and gas-rich neighbor, Iran.
In October, the Turkish minister of energy and natural resources said Turkey will raise its gas imports from Iran – currently standing at 10 billion cubic meters a year – if possible.
By Press TV
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