Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan intends to discuss with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin payment for energy imports from Russia in currencies other than the US dollar, Bloomberg reports.
The agency quoted Turkish officials familiar with the matter as saying the two countries are working on a proposal to use local currencies in their trade transactions, including energy purchases, which would help Ankara limit the rapid depletion of its foreign exchange reserves.
Officials expected Erdogan and Putin to discuss the proposal on the sidelines of a meeting on Syria in the Iranian capital on Tuesday.
Notably, Russia is Turkey’s main source of energy supplies, as it provided a quarter of Turkey’s crude oil imports and about 45 percent of its natural gas purchases last year, giving Moscow a huge bilateral trade surplus.
Turkey’s exports to Russia last year amounted to $6.5 billion, while imports from Russia amounted to $29 billion. Millions of Russians also holiday on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast and spend billions of dollars on travel.
One official said the mechanism under consideration could allow Turkey to use the lira to pay for energy imports, freeing up more of its foreign exchange reserves.
Later, Moscow could use any payments in Turkish currency to finance Russia’s purchases of goods and services from Turkish service providers. Similarly, the ruble will be part of any deal between the two countries, the official added.