Turkey steps in to help end gas crisis .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ISTANBUL - With Russia and Ukraine’s continued struggle to find common ground on gas supplies, Turkey's energy minister traveled to Moscow on Tuesday to meet officials and attempt to solve the crisis threatening gas flow to Europe.

Minister Hilmi Güler said Turkey had maintained its mediation efforts to resolve the gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine. "As part of the solution, our talks with the two parties continue. I do not know what you would call it but we are doing our best for a solution to the problem," the Anatolia News Agency quoted Güler as saying when he was asked about Turkey's role in solving the issue. Noting that his Bulgarian counterpart, Petr Dimitrov, was also in Moscow, Güler said they would conduct talks together. Bulgaria, along with Slovakia, has been the worst hit European Union country by the dispute.

Upon a question as to whether Russia would consider joining the Nabucco project to lessen its dependency on Ukraine as a transit country, Güler said the decision belonged to Moscow. The multinational Nabucco project will carry gas from the Caspian Sea to Western Europe through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary to Austria, and aims to reduce dependency on Russian energy supplies.

Turkey's high dependence on natural gas and Russia in particular for its energy needs has translated into an anxious wait for the dispute to be resolved. Meanwhile, a source from the Turkish energy ministry yesterday told Reuters that Turkey did not plan any cuts in domestic natural gas supply and gas exports to Greece would not be cut.

The source said gas flow to Greece was currently at 1.6 million cubic meters a day, compared with a contract level of 2 million, due to low pressure, while daily domestic consumption was between 110 million to 115 million cubic meters. Russia initially cut supplies to Ukraine on New Year’s Day after a dispute over late payments and a failure to agree on a price for 2009, but last week shut off all supplies after accusing Kiev of siphoning off gas that was transiting the country to Europe. Ukraine has hotly contested the accusations it was stealing gas, and the European Union-brokered monitor deal was meant to overcome this issue.