Briefing the parliamentary Planning and Budget Commission about the work of his ministry on Thursday, Babacan said Turkey deposits the payment for the gas it purchases from Iran in a bank account created for the Iranian gas sellers. Because Iranians are not allowed to withdraw the money to take to their country, they buy gold from Turkey instead in order to bring it to Iran.
The minister added that the situation is a result of US sanction on Iran.
Iran's role in the increased gold exports of Turkey has been discussed earlier. The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) claimed in September that Turkey is paying for the oil and natural gas it imports from Iran in gold, drawing attention to the enormous increase in Turkey's gold exports to Iran in 2012.
Iran, stricken by US-led sanctions, is said to have asked Turkey to pay in gold in exchange for the oil and natural gas Turkey is buying from Iran. Turkey's gold exports to Iran had increased significantly as of April of this year. According to data the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) has released, Turkey's total gold and precious stone exports have amounted in the first seven months of 2012 to nearly $8.9 billion, while the figure was only $1.8 billion in the same period of last year.
In the first seven months of this year, Turkey's exports to Iran have also skyrocketed to $8 billion, up from $2 billion in the same period of last year. And it can be safely assumed the major portion of the increase, $6 billion, stems from the export of gold.
Meanwhile, Babacan also spoke about Turkey's current account deficit, saying it stems from the fact that Turkey relies on foreign markets in energy. “If we had enough oil and natural gas supply, the current account deficit would be zero,” he said.