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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. 

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