Ankara shuns Moscow’s potential gas threat with Qatari accord
This Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015 photo shows a general view of a natural gas refinery in the South Pars gas field on the northern coast of Persian Gulf in Asalouyeh, Iran. AP PhotoTurkey has been exploring new energy alternatives amid the ongoing diplomatic crisis with Russia, although officials continue to view any potential gas blockage by Russia as unlikely. In this vein, Turkey’s gas grid BOTAŞ and Qatar’s national oil energy company have inked a memorandum of understanding that will pave the way for Turkey to import liquefied natural gas [LNG] in both a regular and long-term manner during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Qatar visit on Dec. 2, according to Turkish officials.
This accord will help Turkey’s LNG imports from Qatar gain a long-term perspective, the officials said, as reported by Anadolu Agency.
The main deal which will include an option for Qatar to build an LNG terminal in Turkey and the exact amount of gas imports will be signed very soon, they added.
Both sides have signed a total of 15 deals, in addition to another agreement for the removal of visas reciprocally.
Turkish officials voiced they have been in search of alternative energy sources lately on various platforms.
“I don’t think Russia will stop the gas flow to Turkey. But we need to be prepared for all possibilities. I have asked for Energy Ministry officials to work on various alternatives,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said in an interview on Habertürk TV station on Dec. 1.
“We already buy gas from Iran. I’ll also visit Azerbaijan on Dec. 3. We’ll also assess several [liquefied natural gas] LNG alternatives. Upon the possibility of Russia’s gas flow blockage, a citizen from eastern Europe said, ‘We’ll burn dried cow dung if necessary, but we won’t allow the violation of our borders.’ I don’t say this would happen, but our nation is open to making sacrifices when necessary,” Davutoğlu said.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Ankara will not retaliate against Russia’s “emotional” sanctions.
“Russia is our strategic partner and we will continue to provide them with products, including food exports,” Erdoğan told a group of reporters on board his presidential plane, daily Hürriyet reported on Dec. 2.
“We have not always had natural gas… This nation is accustomed to hardship,” he added, while stressing Turkey had possible alternative gas suppliers to Russia.