Turkey, Russia strike strategic Turkish Stream gas pipeline deal



Turkey and Russia signed the strategic Turkish Stream gas pipeline agreement late on Oct. 10 amid vows by both countries to intensify their relations following a hiatus due to Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet in November 2015.

The pipeline will carry Russian natural gas to Turkey and on to Europe under the Black Sea.

During the signing ceremony with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish PresidentRecep Tayyip Erdoğan said ministers and experts would continue to hold bilateral talks after the deal, adding that they would also hold talks focusing on the economy, politics, defense, tourism and culture.

“Today has been a full day with President Putin of discussing Russia-Turkish relations … I have full confidence that the normalization of Turkish-Russian ties will continue at a fast pace,” Erdoğan said.

The president also said they reached consensus on the acceleration of the process for the Akkuyu nuclear plant, which will be constructed in the Mediterranean province of Mersin.

In addition, Putin also added that the two countries had reached a consensus on a discount in natural gas prices as part of the deal.

Putin added that Moscow had lifted restrictions on Turkish citrus exports to Russia.

Erdoğan said they further discussed Syria and the Euphrates Shield Operation in detail as well as strategies and cooperation regarding humanitarian aid to Aleppo. Putin said Moscow was on the same page with Ankara about delivering humanitarian aid to Aleppo.

Russia’s Gazprom and Turkey’s BOTAŞ in 2014 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, with a capacity of 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year from Russia to Turkey across the Black Sea.

However, talks on the project were halted last year after Turkey shot down a Russian air force jet and Moscow retaliated with trade sanctions but since then the two countires have made significant progress to mend relations.

Erdoğan said in August at a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart that building the gas pipeline quickly was a priority.

“Both Russia and Turkey support the end of the bloodshed in Syria,” Putin said.

“We share the same view that every effort should be made for humanitarian aid to be delivered to Aleppo,” he added.

“The only issue is the safety of the delivery of humanitarian aid,” Putin said.

According to the Russian leader, Moscow and Ankara also agreed to intensify military contacts.