Energy Minister: "Turkey will continue power projects with Iran"
Turkey will support oil sales by Turkish companies to Iran, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz told Reuters on Wednesday, despite US sanctions that aim to squeeze the Islamic republic's fuel imports. The pledge came ahead of an expected resumption of talks next month between world powers and Tehran over its nuclear program, which Washington suspects aims to develop atomic weapons. "If the preference of the private sector is to sell these (petroleum) products to Iran, we will help them. There is no demand for Turkey to halt the trade of these products with Iran," Yildiz said in an interview. The sale of petrol, as well as other projects Turkey is planning with Iran, may indicate a shift in its energy policy to give priority to its energy-rich neighbors in the Middle East over conditions set by its traditional Western allies. Any firms that sell gasoline to Iran could face retribution, including a possible ban from accessing the US financial system or denial of US contracts, according to the US Treasury. Tupras, Turkey's sole refiner and gasoline exporter, which is owned by Koc Holding, buys 33 percent of its crude from Iran.