Turkey cannot end its natural gas cooperation with Iran, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday after a senior U.S. official urged Ankara to sacrifice its business ties with Tehran.
"Turkey is generating 52 percent of its electricity from natural gas and it is out of the question for us to say we are cutting our relations with these countries (chief suppliers Iran and Russia)," Erdogan told a news conference.
"No country can make such a demand of us. And the United States did not make such a demand," said Erdogan before flying to the United States for the annual gathering of the U.N. General Assembly.
Neighbouring Iran -- with the world's biggest gas reserves after Russia -- is already Turkey's second biggest supplier of natural gas after Russia. It provides gas through a pipeline between the two countries.
Turkey, experiencing fast economic growth, is almost entirely dependent on imports for its energy. But it is trying to diversify energy supplies and become a regional hub.
U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns called on Turkey and other countries during a visit to Ankara on Wednesday to "sacrifice" their business ties with Iran.
"We do not think it makes sense to announce long-term oil and gas deals at a time when Iran is going ahead with nuclear weapons research," Burns told reporters.
Pressure is increasing on European countries and companies to reduce business ties with Iran.
Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2007, 17:16