Turkey intends to demand a discount on gas from Russia, as well as request the possibility of a delay on already approved gas supplies. Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati spoke about this in an interview with the Financial Times. According to him, Turkey does not violate any anti-Russian sanctions and works in a constructive manner in accordance with international law.
The publication claims that Turkey is pressuring Russia to win a significant discount for "huge gas supplies to the country." Nebati also notes that cooperation with Russia in the gas sector will help Turkey reduce pressure on the trade balance and strengthen the Turkish lira, which has collapsed at a record pace in recent years, triggering huge inflation. In addition, Nebati confirmed that Turkey has received funds from the state company Rosatom for the construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, which should also positively affect the trade balance. The amount received by Turkey was estimated at $10 billion.
Nevertheless, the Republic of Turkey will continue to be under pressure from a trade deficit next year. According to Nebati, the total value of energy imports alone next year is estimated at about $100 billion. Western countries are concerned about the financial policy of the Turkish authorities. Brussels and Washington have repeatedly warned the republic's authorities not to create opportunities for Russia to circumvent sanctions. It was under pressure from the West that Turkish banks, for example, refused to cooperate with the Russian payment system Mir and tightened the requirements for Russians who are trying to open accounts in local banks.
The minister also responded to claims about dubious sources of currency in the Turkish treasury. Western countries noted that of the approximately 40 billion foreign exchange reserves that are spent to cover the trade balance, 28 billion are of dubious origin that could not be traced. Nebati claims the funds are "an echo of the wars that surround Turkey," alluding to the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine. According to him, a significant inflow of cash in 2022 was provided by Russian citizens, who, under the conditions of sanctions, became inaccessible to financial services and actively imported cash.
Commenting on Turkey's desire to win a significant discount on gas, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed hope that Turkey would not abuse its position in the negotiations. The Kremlin expects that Moscow and Ankara will be able to find a mutually beneficial format of cooperation, especially against the backdrop of the idea of creating a gas hub, the project of which the parties have already begun to work out.
After the start of the Russian war against Ukraine, Turkey continues to observe the border position. Officially, she does not support any of the parties to the conflict, but she is trying to get the most out of this situation for herself. The Turkish defense industry is actively cooperating with the Ukrainian authorities, while Ankara is trying to make the stay of Russian tourists and citizens on its territory as comfortable as possible.