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U.S. Slams Turkey-Russia Deal to Form a Natural Gas Hub

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Presidents Erdogan and Putin apparently agreed to turn Turkey into a gas hub. Credit: Turkish Presidency

On Wednesday, the U.S. expressed its opposition to the agreement announced by Turkey for the creation of a natural gas hub in cooperation with Russia.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that he had agreed with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to form a natural gas hub in Turkey.

Speaking to members of his AK Party in Parliament, Erdogan announced that according to Putin, Europe could obtain its gas supply from the hub in Turkey.

“Türkiye will be a hub for natural gas as well,” Erdogan said. “In our last meeting, we agreed with Putin on this issue. We will create a hub here with Turkish gas coming from Russia.” The U.S. State Department fired back upon this news.

“We have worked closely with our allies and partners to impose severe and unprecedented costs on Russia, including through sanctions, export controls, visa restrictions,” Vedant Patel, the State Department’s principal deputy spokesperson said. “We have urged Turkey and all of our allies and partners…[to not] become a safe haven for illicit Russian assets or transactions, and we will continue to make that case.”

“And as it relates to the energy conversation, we have continued to urge our allies to take steps to diversify their energy sources to reduce energy reliance on Russia,” he added. “And in the case of Turkey, we are working with them closely to assist in their own efforts to enhance energy security in the long term.”

The gas hub in Turkey discussed between Erdogan and Putin

Last month, on the sidelines of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia summit in the Kazakh capital, Astana, Erdogan held a closed-door meeting with Putin, who had proposed building a natural gas hub in Turkey.

Putin has toyed with the idea of exporting more gas via the TurkStream gas pipeline running through the Black Sea to Turkey. He had previously touted the country as the best route for redirecting gas supplies to the European Union after the Nord Stream pipeline leaks.

Erdogan had said Russian and Turkish energy authorities would work together to designate the best location for the potential gas distribution center, adding that Turkey’s Thrace region, bordering Greece and Bulgaria, appeared to be the best spot.

Carrying natural gas from Russia to Turkey and further into Europe, the TurkStream was formally launched in January 2020.

The pipeline, which allows Moscow to bypass Ukraine as a transit route to Europe, carries Russian gas to Southern Europe through the Black Sea and Turkey.

Related: Putin and Erdogan: Architects of Revisionism

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