The day after his meeting in Sochi with his Russian counterpart, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that his country would pay for Russian gas purchases in rubles. In 2021, Russia accounted for 45% of Turkish natural gas purchases.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed that deliveries of Russian gas to Turkey will be paid for in rubles, Turkish media reported on August 6.
“A positive aspect of our visit to Sochi is our agreement with Mr. Putin on the ruble. God permitting, our exchanges in rubles will bring benefits to Turkey and Russia,” the Turkish head of state told reporters on board his return flight from the Russian city of Sochi, on the shores of the Black Sea, where he met Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two heads of state have agreed that deliveries of Russian gas to Turkey will be “partially paid for in rubles”, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak announced the day before.
The Turkish president did not specify the volume of future transactions in rubles. Russia has succeeded for several months in imposing its currency in certain international regulations instead of the euro and the dollar, against the backdrop of Western economic sanctions against Moscow because of its military intervention in Ukraine.
In 2021, almost half of Turkey’s gas imports came from Russia
While swiftly condemning the Russian offensive, Turkey opted for neutrality between the two countries and did not join Western sanctions against Moscow. In 2021, Russia accounted for around a quarter of Turkey’s oil imports and 45% of its natural gas purchases. Paying for Russian gas, even partially, in rubles could allow Turkey not to further reduce its currency reserves in dollars.
According to several analyzes by economists, the Turkish government would have spent tens of billions of dollars in 2021 to try to stop the collapse of the Turkish lira, which has lost almost half of its value in one year.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin also pledged in Sochi to strengthen energy and economic cooperation between the two countries.