Currently, Turkey imports gas from Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran through pipeline, and Russia owned 55 percent of the Turkish market while the remaining 45 percent is shared by Iran and Azerbaijan, said Head of Energy Commission of Tehran Chamber of Commerce Hamid-Reza Salehi, ILNA reported on July 15.
Salehi exclusively told ILNA, “The resumption of gas imports from Iran after a 3-month hiatus should be considered auspicious.”
Iran’s natural gas exports to Turkey halted due to an explosion that hit the pipeline on Turkish soil on March 31.
Salehi referred to some problems facing Russia’s “Blue Stream pipeline” that transfer gas to Turkey stressing that under the existing circumstances, Iran “must develop its liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in order to influence the Turkish market.”
Presently Ankara imports LPG by ship from the United States, Qatar, and Algeria. However, Iran can be a better actor “by selling its gas to Ankara on better terms,” said the official.
Salehi urged the need to use ‘economic diplomacy’ to be a winner in the economic competitions.
Relations between Russia and Turkey, one of Moscow’s biggest consumers of natural gas, have been patchy for the past years and are beset by the numbers of issues, including conflicts in Syria and Libya as well as status of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia.
On July 10, a Turkish court annulled a 1934 cabinet decree that had turned Hagia Sophia into a museum, paving the way for its use again as a mosque after 85 years, the Turkish official News Agency, Anadolu, reported.
After centuries of service as a church under the Byzantine Empire, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque by Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II following his conquest of Istanbul in 1453.
In 1935, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum.
Reconversion of the Hagia Sophia into a mosque received different reactions in international community. It was welcomed by Muslim countries but hurt some others.
Russia’s Blue Stream pipeline, launched in the early 2000s, moved 11.1 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas to Turkey last year out of a total of 15.5 bcm exported.