Turkey to find alternative energy suppliers: President

Ankara, Dec 6 (IANS) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country will find alternatives to Russian energy as tensions remain high over Ankara’s downing of a Moscow warplane.

“Russia is Turkey’s biggest natural gas supplier but it is not the only one,” Xinhua quoted Erdogan as saying on Saturday.

Turkey is heavily dependent on foreign oil and gas, importing 98 percent of its natural gas from Russia and Iran and 90 percent of oil demand from Iraq.

“It is possible to find different suppliers,” Erdogan said, referring to Qatar and Azerbaijan.

Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu this week visited Qatar and Azerbaijan respectively to reach agreements on importing liquefied natural gas from Qatar, and expediting the construction of a gas pipeline that carries Azerbaijan’s gas in the Caspian Sea to Turkey and Europe.

Relations between Moscow and Ankara have plunged into a crisis since Turkey on November 24 shot down a Russian warplane on Syrian border.

Russia has imposed sanctions on Turkey in response to its refusal to make any apology for the downing incident, but stopped short of cutting off gas supply to the country.

Early reports said Moscow has halted talks on the joint Turkish stream pipeline project, which was agreed upon in December 2014 to pump gas to Ankara and Europe via the Black Sea.

Erdogan referring to media reports over the suspension of the project, said “It is in fact Turkey that suspended the project a while ago as Russia did not fulfill Ankara’s requirements.”

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