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Turkey and Russia to jointly set up gas hub in Thrace, Erdogan says

Distribution centre to be constructed in Thrace, Turkey, following meeting in Astana between Russian and Turkish presidents
A worker is seen next to a pipe at a construction site on the extension of Russia's TurkStream gas pipeline in Bulgaria (Reuters)
A worker is seen next to a pipe at a construction site on the extension of Russia's TurkStream gas pipeline in Bulgaria (Reuters)
By in
Ankara

Turkey will establish a natural gas distribution centre in Thrace with Russia, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Friday during an interview with local journalists.

Erdogan met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Thursday in Astana, who touted Turkey as the best route for redirecting gas supplies to the European Union after suspected blasts damaged the Nord Stream pipeline in the Baltic Sea.

“Together with Mr Putin, we instructed our Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and the relevant institution on the Russian side to work together,” Erdogan said. “We will find the most appropriate place for this distribution centre and will build it.”

Erdogan said the energy ministry and Russian energy firm Gazprom will first conduct a feasibility report and present it to the leaders, adding that security precautions for such a centre will also be taken.

'We will find the most appropriate place for this distribution centre and will build it'

- Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Russia’s decision to suspend gas supplies to Europe, especially after suspicious leaks from the Nord Stream main pipelines, have had a steep impact on the 27-nation EU and beyond, with gas prices almost 90 percent higher than a year ago and fears growing of shortages over the coming winter.

Gas supplies to Europe from Russia were swiftly curtailed after western countries responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February with a wave of sanctions on Moscow.

Turkey and Russia have two active pipelines. One, TurkStream, goes across the Black Sea and through western Turkey near Thrace.

Putin earlier this week claimed that police had arrested a number of suspects that tried to sabotage the TurkStream pipeline.

Ukraine on Thursday blamed Russia itself for trying to sabotage the pipeline and turn public opinion against Kyiv.

Turkey has been walking a fine line on the Ukraine invasion, arming Kyiv with combat drones and ammunition but cutting economic deals with Moscow. Turkey is seeking a 25 percent discount on Russian gas purchases and a payment postponement until 2024.

Moscow has already pumped more than $7bn into Turkish Central Bank coffers through the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant scheme, building a lifeline to depleted foreign reserves through back-door transfers.

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