Turkish energy minister: Putin proposal for gas hub in Turkey should be discussed

G20 Energy Transitions Ministerial Meeting in Bali, Indonesia
Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez attends the G20 Energy Transitions Ministerial Meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, September 2 2022. Made Nagi/Pool via REUTERS
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MOSCOW, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said on Wednesday that it was too early to comment on Russian President Vladimir Putin's proposal for a European gas hub in Turkey but added that the issue should be discussed.

Speaking at the Russia Energy Week conference in Moscow, both Putin and Gazprom (GAZP.MM) head Alexei Miller suggested creating a gas hub in Turkey.

Putin said that Russia could redirect supplies intended for the damaged Nord Stream pipelines to the Black Sea to create the hub in Turkey, or even use the one intact part of Nord Stream 2 to supply the European Union.

Donmez said it was the first time he had heard of the proposal, adding that it was too early to make an assessment.

"It is the first time we heard of the issue of supplying Europe through alternate routes, mentioned by President Putin in his speech. Therefore it is too early to make an assessment," he said.

"These kinds of international projects need feasibility assessments... commercial aspects need to be discussed. These are things that need to be discussed," Donmez added.

NATO member Turkey has close relations with both Ukraine and Russia and has sought to balance ties during the conflict in Ukraine, rejecting Western sanctions on Moscow while criticising Russia for what the Kremlin calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine and supplying Kyiv with armed drones.

Along with the United Nations, Turkey brokered the July deal to unlock Ukrainian grain exports from its Black Sea ports, in what remains the only significant diplomatic breakthrough in the seven-month-old conflict.

Ankara's relations with Russia are complex, with the two countries cooperating closely on energy supplies while being at odds over Syria, Libya and Azerbaijan.

Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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