Turkey to Allow South Stream Passage "if Russia Requests It"

Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz. Photo by BGNES

Turkey would consider the possibility that the South Stream gas pipeline could pass through its territory if Russia makes a request, the country's Energy Minister said Wednesday.

Taner Yildiz announced that Turkey was "open to assessing any request for the line to pass" through its land, Hurriyet Daily News quoted him as saying.

Turkish officials also reported that the issue will be addressed at next week's talks with Russian representatives which are due to take place in Ankara.

Days ahead of the April 21 meeting, Yildiz declared that it was said "there could be such a demand", but refused to provide further details.

Turkey's announcement came before a vote in the European Parliament scheduled for Thursday, in which MEPs will have to decide whether to recommend halting construction of the South Stream due to Russia's stance on the situation in Ukraine.

In case the South Stream is to be frozen, Turkey says its pipes could also pass through its European territories to the north-west and thus skip EU member Bulgaria.

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