During prime minister’s Erdogan’s Tehran visit, Turkey could not resolve its dispute with Iran over the price of gas it imports through a dedicated pipeline. Turkey is faced an oversupply of gas, because of the commitments it made during the 1990s, but the US pressures against dealing with Iran on Turkey, and Russia’s competition with Iran over Europe’s gas market, prevent the two countries from settling the dispute, University of Bradford’s research fellow Hooman Peimani tells Radio Farda. July 30, 2004 - Iranian and Turkish experts and officials will hold further talks on the two countries’ dispute over Turkey’s imports of natural gas from Iran, prime minister Recep Tayyep Erdogan said on Thursday, on the last day of his official visit to Iran, indicating that Turkey and Iran did not reach an agreement over the price of Iran’s natural gas.
“Based on wrong assumptions about economic growth, Turkey signed many contracts during the 1990s to import natural gas from a variety of sources. The country is now facing a major problem, because it has committed itself to importing a certain amount of gas which it does not need,” Hooman Peimani, research fellow at the University of Bradford’s department of peace studies, tells Radio Farda’s broadcaster Jamshid Zand.
“Turkey is looking for excuses to cancel some of these contracts, but its problem will Iran will not be resolved anytime soon, since Iran has built a pipeline for the purpose of exporting gas to Turkey, and Turkey cannot easily get out of its contract,” he adds.
“By suspending imports, Turkey is trying to press Iran to lower its price further, or agree on lowering the amount of gas Turkey is committed to import per year,” he says. Iran has already cut its price by 9 percent to match that of Russia’s."
“The US pressures on Turkey against dealing with Iran and the competition between Iran and Russia over Turkey’s gas market are also other factors contributing to the current Turkey-Iran dispute
“Turkey’s gas import from Iran through a dedicated pipeline has brought under question the long-held US assumption that exporting Central Asia’s gas through Iran and Turkey to Europe was neither secure nor economical.
“On the other hand, Russia is not too keen on seeing the success of Iran-Turkey gas deal, since, in addition to Turkey’s market, Iran would be competing with Russia in the much larger European market. The Europeans have indicated that they would be willing to invest in a short pipeline linking Turkey to Western Europe through Bulgaria or Greece,” Peimani says.