Turkey to maintain Iran energy ties
Turkey’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz says Iran is an “important” neighbor of Turkey, stressing that his country will maintain strong energy ties with its eastern neighbor, Press TV reports.
He said this when asked by Press TV correspondent about energy ties between Iran and Turkey and the results of his recent visit to Tehran during a news conference in Ankara on Friday.
Yildiz emphasized that despite Western sanctions against Iran's oil sector, Turkey will continue to buy crude oil and natural gas from Iran.
“Iran is the one of the main suppliers of crude oil to Turkey. Last year, Turkey imported over 50 percent of its crude oil from Iran. This year, this figure will not be less than 40 percent,” he added.
Pointing to Ankara’s recent decision to decrease oil imports from Iran, the Turkish minister stated that the move was not made in line with the Western sanctions against Iran.
He also denied speculations and reports that Ankara had taken the measure under US pressure.
Yildiz stated that the main reason behind the move was the start of oil imports from Libya to help the normalization of the North African country.
“Opening a new gate for cooperation with Libya, which is on the way to normalization, was necessary and Tupras - Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation - [has] signed a contract to buy one million tons of crude oil from Libya,” he added.
Turkey had announced last month that it plans to decrease its oil purchase from Iran.
The decision was made shortly after the US Ambassador in Turkey, Francis Riccardione, reportedly called on Ankara to curtail oil imports from Iran, prompting speculations that Turkey had made the move under US pressure.