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Turkey is seeking to increase gas purchases from the US and distribute some to its neighborhood, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, as Europe faces an energy crisis triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“We want to increase the gas we buy from the US on more favorable terms in the coming period,” Erdogan told a group of American business executives late Wednesday in New York, where he attended the United Nations General Assembly. “We are ready to cooperate in the delivery of US LNG to the countries in the region.”
Turkey and the US have sought ways to mend relations strained by a series of disputes over recent years, including Ankara’s purchase of an advanced Russian-missile defense system. Erdogan is now pointing to the potential in expanding energy ties but Turkey has limited capacity to re-export gas to Europe.
It’s a transit country for Azeri gas shipments via the Trans-Anatolia Pipeline that crosses into Greece and connects with another pipeline to extend into Italy. Turkey separately pumps gas that it purchases from various sources, including Russia, Azerbaijan, Algeria and the US, through separate pipelines to Greece and Bulgaria.
In the first quarter of 2022, the US became the largest supplier of LNG to Turkey. Turkey annually imports about 60 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
Erdogan also urged Washington to lift additional tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imposed by the Trump administration during a diplomatic spat and remove obstacles to arms sales. The restrictions on weapons are “negatively affecting the security of the entire NATO geography as well as our commercial relations,” the president said.