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Erdoğan tells his government to start work on Russian gas hub

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan backs the Kremlin’s idea of creating an international gas hub in Turkey and wants his government to quickly present implementation plans, Agence France-Presse reported, citing Turkish media on Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed piping natural gas to southern Europe via Turkey following the near total disruption of Russian supplies via the Nord Stream project.

The idea raised the immediate alarm of European powers such as France, with President Emmanuel Macron’s office saying it made “no sense.”

Russia already supplies Turkey with gas via the TurkStream link under the Black Sea.

Erdoğan said on his return flight from talks with Putin in Kazakhstan on Thursday that the new distribution center would probably be established in Thrace, a northwestern region near Bulgaria.

“We have a national distribution center, but of course now this will be an international distribution center,” Erdoğan told reporters on board his plane.

“There will be no waiting on this issue.”

Gas prices have skyrocketed since the beginning of Russia’s war and Europe has struggled to find alternative energy supplies after Russia strangled deliveries in response to Western sanctions.

The latest spike came after a series of blasts this month destroyed both lines of Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline to Germany.

Putin said this week that Russia has also thwarted a planned attack against the TurkStream pipeline, without providing evidence or details.

“We are quickly establishing a security net” for the new gas distribution center project, Erdoğan said.

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