ANKARA (REUTERS)—Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, angered by Russian incursions into Turkish air space, has warned Russia there are other places Turkey could get natural gas and other countries that could build its first nuclear plant, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
“We can’t accept the current situation. Russia’s explanations on the air space violations are not convincing,” the Turkish daily Sabah and other media quoted Erdogan as telling reporters as he flew to Japan for an official visit.
Russia is Turkey’s largest natural gas supplier, with Ankara buying 28-30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of its 50 bcm of natural gas needs annually from Russia. Other major suppliers are Iran and Azerbaijan, with a small amount planned from Turkmenistan.
Turkey commissioned Russia’s state-owned Rosatom in 2013 to build four 1,200-megawatt reactors in a project worth $20 billion, although a start date for what will be Turkey’s first nuclear power plant has not yet been set.
Erdogan said he was resentful over the Russian intervention in Syria, which Turkey sees as its own backyard, but did not currently plan to speak to President Vladimir Putin.
“These are matters for Russia to think about. If the Russians don’t build the Akkuyu (nuclear plant) another will come and build it,” he was quoted as saying.
“We are Russia’s number one natural gas consumer. Losing Turkey would be a serious loss for Russia. If necessary, Turkey can get its natural gas from many different places.”