* U.S. gave Turkey 180-day exemption in June
* Its oil imports from Iran fell over 30% in Oct from Sept
By Orhan Coskun
ANKARA, Dec 5 Turkey has not received any new
request from the United States to reduce the level of its crude
oil purchases from Iran and is continuing with its existing
level of imports, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told
Reuters on Wednesday.
In June Washington exempted Turkey, along with six other
countries, from financial sanctions on Iran's oil trade for six
months in return for a 20 percent cut in Ankara's purchases.
Last week, the U.S. Senate approved expanded sanctions on
global trade with Iran's energy and shipping sectors as it
continued to ratchet up economic pressure on Tehran over its
The new package kept in place exemptions for countries
including Turkey that have made significant cuts to their
purchases of Iranian crude oil.
"There is no new demand from the USA to reduce the amount of
crude oil which we get from Iran," Yildiz said.
"Whatever the current process is for purchasing crude oil
from Iran, we are continuing that in the same way," he added.
Official trade data last month showed Turkey's crude oil
imports from Iran fell by more than 30 percent to 75,281 barrels
per day (bpd) in October from September as volumes of oil from
other suppliers including Iraq and Saudi Arabia increased.
The Islamic Republic, which once supplied more than 60
percent of Turkey's crude requirements, ranked third in October
behind Iraq and Russia.
Washington says Tehran is enriching uranium to levels that
could be used in nuclear weapons. Iran says the programme is for
In natural gas, Turkey accounts for about 90 percent of
exports from Iran, which ranks second as its supplier behind
Yildiz told reporters in parliament that Turkey had held
talks with the United States on the subject and that Washington
had agreed not to impose sanctions on its natural gas purchases
"We said to them, if you tell us not to buy gas from Iran,
that would be a sanction on Turkey and not on Iran. They agreed
not to include natural gas agreements in the sanctions," Yildiz
Turkey pays for the gas using Turkish lira, which Tehran
uses to buy Turkish gold. Couriers carry the gold to Dubai and
from there, it is shipped to Iran.
Separately, Yildiz said Turkey's energy investments in Iraq
were continuing as planned.
His comments came a day after a plane carrying him to a
conference in Iraqi Kurdistan was denied permission to land.
Iraq's central government in Baghdad, which has been locked
in a feud over oil and land rights with the Kurdistan Regional
Government (KRG) in the north, has been riled by Turkey's recent
moves aimed at forging closer ties with the Iraqi Kurds.