Skip to main content

Turkey says Russia agreed to delay gas payment ahead of elections

The deal marks another economic boon from Moscow to Ankara ahead of Turkey's fateful elections.
Turkish nergy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez

ANKARA — Russia agreed to delay a fraction of Turkey’s natural gas payments, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez announced 10 days before a general election that threatens to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

Speaking in a live TV interview with HaberGlobal earlier this week, Donmez said that Ankara had asked Russian energy giant Gazprom to delay some payments for its natural gas imports after energy prices skyrocketed last year. “An agreement was reached to postpone payments above a certain figure,” Donmez said without elaborating. 

The Turkish official did not indicate how much of Turkey's energy debt will be deferred but the move, coming less than two weeks before Turkey's May 14 elections, raised eyebrows, as it may help Erdogan. The trade gap between Turkey and Russia stands at nearly $38 billion and largely stems from Ankara's energy imports from the country. 

Erdogan faces his toughest reelection bid yet amid sky-high inflation and the severe economic and political damage wrought by deadly earthquakes in February. The disaster killed more than more 50,000 people in Turkey and displaced tens of thousands more, many of whom would typically vote for Erdogan's party. 

This isn't the first time Turkey's embattled leader has turned to Russia for such help. Moscow has already allowed Ankara to pay off some of its energy imports in rubles following a meeting between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin last August. 

Turkey's main opposition party argued earlier this year that Moscow was interfering in the May elections through a series of economic gestures including deferring Ankara’s $20 billion worth gas debt. Turkey’s state-run energy importer denied the accusations in a statement.

Donmez’s statement earlier this week marks the first public acknowledgement of the deal. The energy minister didn’t clarify the total figure Gazprom agreed to delay but said that the opposition was incorrect about the amount deferred. 

Turkey, which has balanced relations between Moscow and Western capitals since the beginning of the Ukraine war, hasn’t joined sanctions against Russia, but sealed off its straits to Russian warships and continues to provide military support to Kyiv.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in