Gazprom increases gas supplies to Turkey after blast
AA PhotoSome 28 Turkish soldiers were wounded when an explosion rocked Iranian-Turkish natural gas pipeline between the eastern provinces of Ağrı and Erzurum, as a military vehicle was passing by late yesterday.
The gas flow through a pipeline carrying Iranian natural gas to Turkey was halted after the explosives planted by suspected members of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) were detonated at around 8:30 p.m.
A fire broke out due to the blast, but was subsequently extinguished after the flow of gas in the pipeline was cut off.
Russia’s Gazprom announced that the gas supply to Turkey had been increased following an official demand from Turkey’s state-run pipeline company BOTAŞ.
Ağrı Governor Mehmet Tekinarslan said wounded soldiers were immediately taken to hospital following the attack.
The injured ones were transferred from Eleşkirt Public Hospital to Ağrı Public Hospital, Tekinarslan said.
Only one soldier has been taken to a hospital in the neighboring Erzurum for third degree burns. “The injured were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment,” the governor said, adding that they are reported to be in good condition.
Tekinarslan also said the fire had been extinguished and that an operation had been launched in the region to apprehend the militants responsible for the blast.
“The bomb was detonated by remote control as a vehicle transporting soldiers was passing by, and members of the military staff in charge of the security of the road were wounded. Most of the wounds are first-degree burns, and all wounded soldiers were taken to hospital after the attack. The one who is in a critical condition has been taken to an Erzurum hospital,” Tekinarslan said.
Gazprom announced that because the transportation of the gas flow had been halted for an unknown period, BOTAŞ had demanded that Russia increase the flow through the Blue Stream gas pipeline, which is designed to deliver Russian natural gas to Turkey across the Black Sea. Gazprom said the supply had been increased from 32 million cubic meters per day to 48 million cubic meters per day.
It is not yet clear when the bombed pipeline will resume transporting gas.
The gas flow from Iran was also stopped earlier this month after an accidental explosion in eastern Turkey, but it resumed a week later.