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Ankara is in talks with Washington over the United States’ new wave of sanctions on Iran, which are speculated to cover Turkey’s de facto gold-for-gas trade with the Islamic republic

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A recent move by the US to set a new wave of sanctions aimed at reducing global trade with Iran may hurt Turkey’s gold-for-gas trade with its neighbor. REUTERS photo

A recent move by the US to set a new wave of sanctions aimed at reducing global trade with Iran may hurt Turkey’s gold-for-gas trade with its neighbor. REUTERS photo

Ankara is in talks with Washington over the United States’ new wave of sanctions on Iran, which are speculated to cover Turkey’s de facto gold-for-gas trade with the Islamic republic, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said yesterday, down playing stronger remarks that had been made by Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan a day earlier.

“I’m not of the view that there will be any negative situations, [such as] a clash with the U.S. regarding natural gas, oil and mining. We are talking with the U.S.,” Yıldız told journalists on the sidelines of a mining event held in Istanbul.

Reuters quoted U.S. senators and aides as saying earlier this week that new sanctions aimed at reducing global trade with Iran in the energy, shipping and metals sectors might soon be considered by the U.S. Senate as part of an annual defense policy bill.

One senior aide said the move would end “Turkey’s game of gold for natural gas,” in a direct reference to Iran converting Turkish payments for gas into gold to sidestep sanctions.

“The United Nations decisions are surely binding for us but we would reconsider any sanctions by a single county, particularly when this is contradicting with and hurting Turkey’s interests,” he said.
Economy Minister Çağlayan said a day earlier that such a decision by the U.S. would not be binding for Turkey as the country only obeys multilateral international deals and is not a member of the European Union.

Turkey has so far acted with sensitivity on the issue, but needs to balance international demands with domestic demands, Turkey’s Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazıcı said yesterday. Possible gas and oil suppliers were limited, Yazıcı said. “Our friends will compensate [our losses] or Turkey will have to continue its relations [with Iran] within this scope,” he said.

Iran sells natural gas to Turkey and gets paid in Turkish Liras that are deposited in Turkish banks in Turkey, but converts this cash into gold before taking it to Tehran as it cannot transfer other foreign currency, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said last week, putting an end to widespread speculations on Turkey’s large amount of gold exports to its neighbor.

Turkey’s gold exports as a whole jumped more than fourfold to hit $11.2 billion in the first eight months of 2012.

Official gold sales to Iran stood at $6.4 billion in this period. Besides, Couriers carrying millions of dollars worth of gold bullion in their luggage have been flying from Istanbul to Dubai, where the gold is shipped to Iran, industry sources with knowledge of the business told Reuters last month. Official Turkish trade data suggests that nearly $2 billion in gold was sent to Dubai in August.

November/30/2012

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Adam Polk

11/30/2012 11:46:21 PM

I will pay more for natural gas I use for heating just because US wants us to stop dealing with Iran. so funny...

pearl jam

11/30/2012 8:01:02 PM

Truth he be told Turkey will not tolerate a nuclear Iran. thus, buy letting Israel do the needed dirty work Turkey can continue doıng business. A nuclear Iran ıs a threat to the entire region. The PM and Turkey are playing their cards clever.

mike alexander

11/30/2012 7:32:43 PM

Roger Harding, Your comments have some base of truth. However, we have to admit that the Middle East is a mess and America has to keep every one happy. Including Turkey, which you also have to admit that she does not play by the rules latest. No even with her own citizens. However, I am glad that our President Obama, is a decent man and I am sure that despite the "Deep State" he is trying to be fair with every one.If you ever visit America my friend you'll admit that it is a great country !

Roger Harding

11/30/2012 4:40:51 PM

MIKE ALEXANDER, PM Erdogan is not really my Cup of Tea either. However, this issue is bigger than Erdogan. See, law must apply equally to all. You wanna' punish Iran? Fine. But, first you have to take care of Nuclear Israel. US policy has no credibility in these matters in the world. Despite all the American Power. That is the problem. As a start, USA should free herself from the stranglehold of Zionst AIPAC. US foreign policy on ME is corrupted by the Iserael lobby. It is kind of sad. Regards.

Selim Bisevac

11/30/2012 2:12:58 PM

@mike Most people in the world view your country as a terrorist state You are basically owned by your Israeli masters . Sorry no one really takes the USA or its policies seriously . Fix up your own backyard first. Perhaps ask China for a bailout?

mike alexander

11/30/2012 4:05:29 AM

Mr Erdogan, the reason my country did not provide to you the patriots you requested, is most likely because you are dealing with a terrorist country called Iran. You are not a RELIABLE "friend" of the USA and the West. It is obvious that the US will keep you close as long as you are needed. However, if you make the wrong move, i.e. attacking Israel, Cyprus or Greece, you'll be in big trouble. I just feel sorry for the Turkish people who have NOTHING to do with your megalomania !
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