Gazete Duvar reported on Tuesday morning that a natural gas pipeline connecting Iran to Turkey was damaged by an explosion that took place near the Gürbulak border crossing point in the Turkish province of Ağrı. The gas flow was shut off in order to extinguish fires resulting from the explosion.
Duvar quoted an official from Iran’s state-run energy company as saying terrorists had attacked the pipeline. This claim was not confirmed by Turkish officials but Iranian officials released statements blaming terrorism for the explosion.
“This morning, terrorists attacked a natural gas pipeline inside Turkey near Iran’s Bazargan border with Turkey …Flow of gas has been halted,” said Mehdi Jamshidi-Dana, director of National Iranian Gas Co.
“The pipeline has exploded several times in the past. It is also likely that the PKK group has carried out the blast,” he told Iran’s state news agency IRNA, referring to the Kurdistan Workers Party. The PKK has been designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, the European Union, Australia, and Japan.Since 1984 the PKK has been involved in an armed conflict with the Turkish state (with cease-fires in 1999–2004 and 2013–2015), with the initial aim of achieving an independent Kurdish state.
The pipeline carries around 10 billion cubic meters of Iranian gas to Turkey annually. Reuters reported that the pipeline frequently came under attack by Kurdish militants during the 1990s and up until 2013, when a ceasefire was established.
It takes usually three to four days to repair and resume gas exports.
Since 1984 the PKK has been involved in an armed conflict with the Turkish state (with cease-fires in 1999–2004 and 2013–2015), with the initial aim of achieving an independent Kurdish state.
In January, Russia launched its TurkStream natural gas pipeline amid a backlash from the U.S. When complete, the pipeline will carry Russian gas under the Black Sea to Turkey and supply several countries in southeastern Europe with an annual capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters.
— Ramin (@FREEDOM4_IRAN) March 31, 2020