(Original title: Russia and Turkey strengthen economic and trade cooperation, Turkey agrees to use rubles to pay for some imported Russian gas)
Financial Associated Press, August 8 (Editor Zhou Ziyi)Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Sochi last Friday, local time. The two sides issued a joint statement after a four-hour meeting to strengthen cooperation, including paying for some natural gas imports from Russia in rubles payments.
As a member of NATO, Turkey’s move to deepen cooperation with Russia is particularly prominent in the recent environment where European and American countries have continued to impose sanctions on Russia.
As part of the agreement, the two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in transportation, agriculture, finance and construction. In their statement, Putin and Erdogan stressed the need for “full implementation of the Istanbul Agreement (food agreement), including unhindered exports of Russian grains, fertilizers and raw materials”.
Last month, with Turkey’s mediation, Russia and Ukraine brokered a grain transport agreement, the Istanbul Agreement. Under the deal, Ukraine’s Black Sea ports have resumed grain exports after months of blockade, while a joint statement by the heads of the two sides further strengthened ties between Russia and Turkey.
Part of Gazprom payment in rubles
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said after the meeting that under the new agreement,Turkey agrees to change how it pays Russia for gas。
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a few months ago that countries deemed unfriendly by Russia would be required to pay Russian energy bills through ruble accounts to shield Russia from Western sanctions.
While Russia does not list Turkey as an unfriendly country, Turkey’s move to pay Russian gas in rubles will shield such trade payments from Western sanctions and allow for a temporary quell over Syria. .
Turkey’s heavy dependence on Russian energy
Turkey’s move to boost its trade with Russia underscores the country’s dependence on Russia for energy and other sectors of the economy.
It is worth mentioning that Erdogan faces elections next year, and Turkey’s annual inflation rate has soared by nearly 80%. Without Russian gas supplies, the economic crisis in Turkey would undoubtedly be exacerbated.
In 2021, Russia provided about a quarter of Turkey’s oil imports and nearly half of Turkey’s total gas purchases.