Russia ends natural gas shipments to Turkey

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Russia has halted natural gas shipments to Turkey following continued deterioration in Turkish-Russian relationships after the downing of a Russian warplane in mid-November by Turkish fighter jets, Turkish media has reported.

Turkey will reportedly seek to fill the gap left by halted Russian imports by increasing gas shipments from Azerbaijan, Qatar, Turkmenistan, Iraq and Kazakhstan.

“It is possible to find different suppliers,” the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News quoted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying in reference to Qatar and Azerbaijan Saturday at a meeting in Istanbul.

Turkish state-owned energy company BOTAS is planning to hold a tender on an 185 kilometer (115 mile) pipeline before the end of December. The pipeline, which will start from the 35th kilometer of the Mardin pipeline, will end at the Turkish border town of Silopi and carry Iraqi natural gas to Turkey, according to the Qatar Day news site.

Erdogan this week visited Qatar, where he agreed on a deal for liquid national gas (LNG) purchases, while Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu traveled to energy-rich Azerbaijan, according to Hurriyet.

Erdogan at the Istanbul meeting said his country depends on outside suppliers for 90.5 percent of its oil and 98.5 percent of its natural gas, according to Hurriyet.

Erdogan added Turkey can also use its own renewable energy resources.

On December 3, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Moscow suspended a planned gas pipeline project to link Russia and Turkey in the wake of the crisis between the two countries.

However, Erdogan dismissed the claims as a “lie,” saying it was Turkey who suspended the project long before the downing of the Russian plane due to Russia’s “non-compliance with our demands,” Hurriyet quoted Erdogan as saying in Istanbul on Saturday.

By Rudaw