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Putin, Erdogan discuss energy relationship

MOSCOW, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Russia and Turkey discussed the potential for resuming supplies of Russian gas and put special focus on the South Stream pipeline, the prime minister said.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke by phone with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss resuming natural gas supplies through Turkey.

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State-owned Turkish Pipeline Corp. said last week it wasn't renewing its 25-year natural gas deal through the so-called Western pipeline because Gazprom wasn't offering a discount to Ankara.

"The prime ministers emphasized the potential for resuming gas supply through another Turkish company," Putin's office said in a statement.

Ankara said natural gas prices for Turkey are up 39 percent in the past two years. Turkey is one of the key export markets for Russian natural gas.

Ankara aims to position itself as a regional transit hub for natural resources. Both sides placed special focus on the South Stream gas pipeline meant for European consumers, Putin's office added. South Stream would pass through Turkish territory.

Zeynep Dereli, director of the Black Sea Energy and Economic Forum, told Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman during the weekend the Turkish energy sector needed to be privatized.

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"Private companies can negotiate better terms," she said.

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