According to BNN Bloomberg Turkey reporter Mr. Kerim Karakaya, Turkish officials have asked Russia to delay a portion of Ankara’s payments due for natural gas, according to people familiar with the matter, as Turkey seeks to mitigate economic damage from higher energy prices.
Turkey’s state-run energy importer Boru Hatlari ile Petrol Tasima AS, or Botas, is seeking to postpone some of the payments to 2024, according to one of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the payment discussions are private. The talks come on the heels of a deal between the two countries that permits Botas to pay 25% of its obligations in rubles rather than dollars.
It’s not yet clear whether the latest talks will result in any agreement, the people said. Botas and Gazprom, Russia’s state-run oil giant, declined to comment. Turkey hasn’t made a formal request to the company, which won’t discuss postponement until it receives an offer, according to a person familiar with Gazprom’s position.
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As of 3 am Turkish time Tuesday, there is no official commentary from Ankara regarding Bloomberg claim. It is generally believed that Erdogan and Putin hashed out a deal during the Sochi summit for the former to aid financing Turkey’s large current account deficit, which could lead to a currency crisis prior to critical 2023 presidential and parliamentary elections. Pro-opposition sources alleged that in return Erdogan promised to turn a blind eye to Russia entities skirting US and EU sanctions through Turkish intermediaries.
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Western capitals are certainly worried that this is the case, with both EU commission members and Bide administration warning Turkey about secondary sanctions.
Turkey’s natural gas bill in 2022-2023 winter cold season could be as high as $15 bn, according to PAIntelligence estimates. Delaying the bill until 2024, as Kerim Karakaya claims, would reduce FX outflows fro the coffers of Central Bank of Turkey, helping the Bank to continue with its current policy of fighting raging inflation with a stable exchange rate.
PAIntelligence will update as Ankara and Moscow comment on the news article. This is only an excerpt form the original BNN Bloomberg article, linked here.
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