Turkey-Russia begins building joint natural gas center: Erdoğan

Turkish government has started doing technical works as well as legal and commercial assessments for building a natural gas center on its soils upon the proposal of Russia, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanged a phone conversation on Nov. 18, the Communication Directorate has announced through a written statement. The two leaders discussed regional issues, particularly the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, as well as bilateral issues, read the statement.

One of the issues on the leaders’ agenda was Putin’s proposal of turning Türkiye into a regional natural gas hub to deliver Russia’s gas to European countries. According to the statement, Erdoğan thanked Putin for this proposal and informed the Russian leader that the teams tasked by the Turkish government will handle technical works and make assessments on legal and commercial aspects of the project.

The center would be built in Türkiye’s Thrace region from where the Russian gas could be transported to the European countries through existing pipelines. Putin made this proposal after his meeting with Erdoğan in Kazakhstan’s Astana in mid-October.

This idea came to the fore as the prominent European countries declared their intention to stop buying gas from Russia because it is using it as a weapon. Putin had said that Türkiye could be a credible gas distributor to Europe. Türkiye is supplying most of its natural gas from Russia through pipelines across the Black Sea.