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Explosion shuts down Turkey-Iran natural gas pipeline

Explosion shuts down Turkey-Iran natural gas pipeline thumbnail

Saboteurs attacked a pipeline carrying natural gas from Iran to Turkey in Turkey’s eastern province of Agri late on Monday, halting the flow, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz and state gas company Botas said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the attack bore the hallmark of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), whose camps in northern Iraq have been bombed by the Turkish air force in recent days and which has struck the pipeline before.

“An explosion occurred as a result of sabotage about 15 kilometers inside the Turkish border on the Turkey-Iran gas pipeline,” Yildiz said in a statement.

The blast caused a fire which was swiftly put out, he said.

The pipeline, which carries around 10 billion cubic meters of Iranian gas to Turkey annually, frequently came under attack by Kurdish militants during the 1990s and up until 2013, when a ceasefire was established.

A Botas official said repairs were under way but it was not clear when the gas flow would resume.

Turkey buys around a quarter of its 40 billion cubic meters of piped natural gas imports from Iran, making its eastern neighbor its second-biggest supplier after Russia. Natural gas is used for almost half of its electricity generation.

The temporary end to hostilities with the PKK, which has pushed demands for greater Kurdish rights, was part of a peace process initiated by then Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to end a three-decade insurgency that has killed more than 40,000.

But Turkey launched air strikes on PKK camps in northern Iraq last week, part of what it has cast as a “war on terrorist groups” which has also included bombing Islamic State militants in northern Syria.

The PKK has said the military campaign renders the ceasefire meaningless, but has so far stopped short of calling it off.

Armed attacks on police and gendarmerie in Turkey’s mostly Kurdish southeast, crisscrossed by several energy pipelines, have sharply increased since last week.

On Monday, a gendarmerie officer in the eastern province of Mus died after being shot by suspected PKK militants. In the eastern border province of Van a military unit was attacked by armed gunmen.

The Botas official said Turkey had not requested additional gas from other countries as a result of the explosion as there was no shortage in meeting domestic demand.

“All precautions have been taken to make sure the natural gas demand is met,” Yildiz said.

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3 Comments on "Explosion shuts down Turkey-Iran natural gas pipeline"

  1. penury on Tue, 28th Jul 2015 1:22 pm 

    I wonder how the U.S. State Dept and War Dept decide which group to arm? and which group to bomb? Do we have to call all the allies to check who we support today or is there a calender which has the bombing or not bombing dates marked? The situation n the ME has gotten to the point that even our friends are our enemies and our enemies are our friends on a off and on basis.

  2. BobInget on Tue, 28th Jul 2015 7:02 pm 

    Pipeline sabotage during wartime, so commonplace.
    Article never mentions Turkey’s religious radicalism, just prior to elections.

    Apparently NATO will help Turkey fight off ISIS but not the PKK which is an internal matter.

    It’s a toss-up which country in the region IS manages to harass next. If each one ‘took a number’ (like at DMV) the first on list was Syria, Libya and Southern Iraq. From there because of
    peak Saudi oil, Egypt collapses, Pakistan implodes as does Saudi Arabia.

    Oil closed around $47.50.

  3. apneaman on Tue, 28th Jul 2015 8:01 pm 

    Here ya go Bob

    The West likes to think that ‘civilisation’ will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    We cling to our belief that barbarism will never outlast the power of the righteous

    “And how can we believe that it will, when our own public-relations boss raves on about “British values” – and at the same time worships the venal, hypocritical, immensely wealthy and dangerous men who have helped to inspire Isis. I refer, of course, to those Saudis whose crazed Sunni Wahhabist cult has encouraged Isis, whose grotesque puritanism has led them to adopt a head-chopping extremism, which lies at the heart of Isis’s own “barbarism”. Sure, the Saudi state arrests Isis cells. But these same Saudis are now killing thousands of Shia Houthis in Yemen in a bombing campaign supported by our Western nations. And what does David Cameron do when the desiccated old king of this weird state dies? Money talks louder than “civilisation”. So he orders that British flags should be flown at half-mast. Now that’s what I call British values!

    Poor old Dave. He loathes Isis but adores one of its elderly “facilitators”. Yet fear not. “Civilisation” may yet win over “barbarism”. My own suspicion is that Ash, Dave and the rest will try to buy up Isis, split them into factions and choose the “moderates” among them. Then we’ll have a new, liberal Isis – people we can do business with, the sort of chaps we can get along with, sins forgotten – and we can then establish relations with them as cosy as those the Americans maintained with Hitler’s murderous rocket scientists after “civilisation” conquered “barbarism” in the Second World War.

    So much for “civilisation”.”

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