Winter will not be easy for Europe: Erdoğan

Winter will not be easy for Europe: Erdoğan

Winter will not be easy for Europe: Erdoğan

Europe will struggle this winter as Russia has choked off the supplies of natural gas that the continent depended on for years, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said.

“This winter will not be easy for Europe. It will be a very troubled winter. It will be a very heavy winter financially,” Erdoğan told journalists on his presidential plane on his way back from Croatia on Sept. 8.

He was responding to the question if Europe could change its stance on the Russia-Ukraine war because of the crisis it will experience this winter.

“It seems difficult for me to make such a prediction without getting through this winter,” Erdoğan said.

European countries, particularly Germany and France were proud to focus on renewable energy before the Ukrainian crisis and were confident with their nuclear power plants, the president recalled.

“They said that they had no problems with natural gas. I had meetings with [former German Chancellor Angela] Merkel and [French President Emmanuel] Macron at that time. In those meetings, they said that they would shut down coal, that is, thermal power plants, and switch to renewable energy, and even decided to close nuclear power plants,” Erdoğan stated.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told him that he would not step back from Merkel’s decision on shutting down their nuclear power plants, Erdoğan said.

“I asked ’Have you thought about it well?’ ‘Yes, because renewable energy is now a joint decision of the European Union,’ he replied,” Erdoğan said referring his conversation with Scholz.

“I saw that Macron is in the same situation. And what happened? Not a month passed, Germany immediately decided to open the Ruhr basin, which is an important thermal power plant basin where Germany is very strong in coal,” the president noted.

Europe is not comfortable at the moment over Russia’s decision to halt gas supplies via Europe’s main pipeline, he emphasized.

“Of course, Russia did not take these decisions out of greed. Europe is not as comfortable and peaceful as one might think. This is going somewhere very different,” Erdoğan said.

However, Türkiye does not face such a problem with Russia on the issue of natural gas supply, the president added.

Russia does not impose sanctions on Türkiye, moreover, he had a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the price issue, and if that discussion yields results, Ankara will benefit well, Erdoğan stated.

“Because our concern is to provide as much electricity or natural gas as possible to our citizens under more favorable [price] conditions,” he added. Turkish citizens will have a further price advantage when Türkiye starts to use its natural gas reserves in 2023, Erdoğan said.

Elaborating on foreign investments in Türkiye, the president said there were new demands for further investment in the country worth nearly $20 billion and this figure is due to increase, he stated.

“Right now, people are knocking on our door for investment in Türkiye, both from Europe and from different parts of the world. Of course, due to their sensitivity, I will not go into who these companies are. But as of now, some companies are in a position to invest in Türkiye as much as $20 billion in total,” he stated.

Erdoğan noted that some countries started to keep their capital in Türkiye as well.

“Because there is no trust left in other countries. But there is confidence in Türkiye at this point,” he said.

He pointed out the fact that the reserves of the Turkish central bank have been increasing.

“This, of course, enables us to act comfortably about foreign exchange reserves. In this regard, many friendly countries are currently giving their necessary support. Our borrowing from them enables us to become stronger as the Central Bank. Hopefully, by achieving this, we will overcome this problem in foreign currency,” the president noted.

On the other hand, thus, Türkiye meets its foreign currency necessities in its imports for certain products, he added.

Erdoğan to talk to Biden on US bases in Greece

President Erdoğan stressed that the recent harassment incidents of Greece towards Türkiye were hardly explained. Moreover, Athens continues to arm the islands nearby Türkiye which should remain de-militarized according to international accords, he added.

Recalling that he will visit New York for the U.N. General Assembly, Erdoğan noted that he would tell U.S. President Joe Biden about Türkiye’s unease with the new American military bases established in Greece recently if there will be an opportunity for a meeting.

On the other hand, there are maximalist theses of Greece imposed on Türkiye in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean in the context of maritime jurisdictions, Erdoğan added.

“Instead of talking directly to Türkiye, they almost employ threat mechanisms by constantly complaining about us in the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and even in NATO, of which we are one of the strongest members. Of course, this cannot be accepted. Whatever language they will understand, we open parenthesis and speak in that language. I understand that they understand too,” he stated.