TODAY’S ZAMAN – Putin to send more gas to Turkey, no comment on price

Putin to send more gas to Turkey, no comment on priceRussia plans to boost its supply of natural gas to Turkey, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a press conference in Moscow on Thursday, declining to comment on a recent demand from Ankara for a greater price discount than announced earlier this month.andldquoOur Turkish partners have asked for an increase in the volume of natural gas we provide them with.

andhellip We could not have turned them down,andrdquo Putin was quoted as saying on Thursday. Putin added that Turkey is a growing economy, and its energy needs have thus increased.

Putinand#39s statements on Thursday come amid efforts by Moscow to diversify supply to counteract a rift with the West. Russia has yet to agree a price with Turkey for its planned increase in gas supply to the country.

Putin on Dec. 1 announced in Ankara that Russia would grant Turkey a 6 percent discount on its gas imports for the next year, supplying it with 3 billion cubic meters (bcm) more than this year Russiaand#39s 6 percent gas price discount granted to Turkey was not finalized, and price negotiations are continuing after Ankara submitted a counter bid seeking a further reduction, Energy Minister YIldIz told a news conference a day after Putinand#39s visit.

In a visit to Ankara on Dec. 1, Putin also announced that Moscow had scrapped the South Stream pipeline project to supply gas to southern Europe without crossing Ukraine, citing EU objections, and instead named Turkey as its preferred partner for an alternative pipeline.

On Thursday, Putin said Russia still hopes to expand its gas supply to southern Europe using a prospective gas hub on Turkeyand#39s border with Greece.The possibility of creating a European gas hub on the Turkey-Greece border will depend on the European Union, Russian media quoted Putin as saying on Thursday.

Putin said Moscow had faith that Turkey would not take part in sanctions imposed on Moscow by the EU and the US. andldquoWe knew they would not do this.

andhellip Russia and Turkey are two important trade partners,andrdquo he said.Putin says Russian economy will be curedPresident Putin said on Thursday Russiaand#39s economy would inevitably rebound after the rubleand#39s dramatic slide this year but offered no remedy for a deepening financial crisis.

Under pressure to show he has a plan to fix the economy, Putin told an end-of-year news conference the actions of the central bank and government had been andquotadequateandquot in a crisis he blamed on external factors. Hinting at internal divisions, he said more measures were needed and the central bank should have halted foreign exchange interventions to support the ruble sooner More decisive and early action by the central bank, he implied, might have countered this weekand#39s big interest rate rise.

The economy is heading into recession in what one minister called a andquotperfect stormandquot of low oil prices, Western sanctions in the Ukraine crisis and global economic problems. The ruble has fallen about 45 percent against the dollar this year andquotIf the situation develops unfavorably, we will have to amend our plans.

Beyond doubt, we will have to cut some [spending]. But a positive turn and emergence from the current situation is inevitable,andquot Putin said.

andquotThe growth of the global economy will continue and our economy will rebound from the current situation,andquot he said, sitting at a large desk and looking confident as he spoke to a studio audience and live on television.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman