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“Türkiye already has capacity to become energy hub”

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Mevlut Cavusoglu voices hope energy crisis in Europe will be dealt with, saying Europe growing weaker is against Türkiye’s interests

Türkiye has the capacity already to be an energy hub for natural gas headed to Europe, as proposed by Russia’s president earlier this week, said the Turkish foreign minister on Friday.

Türkiye is ready to become “an energy hub for determining gas prices,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told a press conference in Istanbul alongside his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

A project to make Türkiye an energy hub would require additional investments that need to be worked out, he added.

On the sidelines of a meeting in Kazakhstan this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about how the countries can work jointly on building a natural gas hub in Türkiye’s Thrace region.

Cavusoglu also said Putin “says that gas deliveries from Russia to European countries that want to buy (gas) can be done via Türkiye. He wants Türkiye to be a hub along these lines.”

Citing last month’s leaks on the Russian Nord Stream gas pipelines, which were blamed on sabotage, Cavusoglu said Putin no longer sees the pipeline as a “secure route.”

Stressing that Türkiye wants the energy crisis in Europe to be dealt with, Cavusoglu said the weakening of Europe is against Türkiye’s interests.

On the Ukraine war in the wake of last week’s attack on Russia’s Kerch Bridge and subsequent Russian airstrikes in Ukraine, Cavusoglu said a meeting between the countries’ leaders in the near future does not seem possible.

Asked about the latest in normalization talks between Türkiye and Armenia, Cavusoglu said the two countries agreed to host future talks on their own soil, rather than in third countries, unlike the last four meetings.

He also affirmed that Türkiye and Armenia currently “do not have an agreement to sign or negotiate on” but that they are discussing steps to take towards normalized ties as well as confidence-building steps.

“The main issue is that a comprehensive peace agreement has not yet been signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan for stability and lasting peace in the South Caucasus,” Cavusoglu said, voicing support for negotiations towards a comprehensive peace agreement in the wake of a more than monthlong conflict between the two countries in fall 2020.

Türkiye and Armenia last December appointed special representatives for talks on normalizing ties, with the first meeting held in Moscow on Jan. 14. The parties have held four meetings so far.

As part of normalization efforts, this February Türkiye and Armenia resumed commercial flights after a two-year hiatus.

On relations with Qatar, Cavusoglu hailed the strong bilateral ties and said they will sign 12 documents during the 8th meeting of the Türkiye-Qatar Supreme Strategic Committee, including a joint declaration and 11 agreements.

“We will sign 12 documents in various fields such as trade, media and communications, culture, and humanitarian aid,” he said.

He added that bilateral trade and investments between the two countries are growing every day.

Saying that the trade volume between Türkiye and Qatar in the first seven months of 2022 reached around $1.2 billion, Cavusoglu underlined they have “agreed to hold a first JETCO (Joint Economic Commission) meeting to further strengthen our economic cooperation.”

Cavusoglu and Al Thani also addressed issues of common concern, including Ukraine, Libya, and the food and energy crises.

– Stronger ties between Türkiye, Qatar

For his part, the Qatari top diplomat said today’s bilateral talks had “constructive results,” with both sides agreeing to boost bilateral ties, especially in the areas of the economy, investment, and trade.

Al Thani also stressed that both Qatar and Türkiye agreed to consolidate cultural and humanitarian relations between the people of the two countries.

The talks also tackled many international topics, he said, stressing how much the countries’ views overlap.

The Russia-Ukraine war was also discussed, Al Thani said, praising the Turkish diplomatic role particularly in “achieving stability especially in the food and grain sector and the agreement inked” in Istanbul this July to unblock Ukrainian grain shipments and relieve the world food crisis.

He also thanked Türkiye for its role promoting stability in Afghanistan and providing humanitarian aid to ease the suffering of its people as well as urging the country’s Taliban administration to respect the rights of all groups.

On Thursday’s news that rival Palestinian factions meeting in Algeria had signed a reconciliation agreement, Al Thani said: “Qatar welcomes this announcement and its results, and we hope these results and positive steps will help end the state of division which affected greatly the Palestinian cause.”

He went on to condemn the “Israeli escalation which takes place on a daily basis and violations in the West Bank and incursions of the Al Aqsa Mosque.”

He also thanked Türkiye for providing support for Qatar in preparations to host the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

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