Turkey and Russia will discuss going ahead with the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project, as the two countries move fast to rebuild relations as part of Turkey's restart in foreign policy.
A Turkish delegation, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, held talks in Moscow on July 26 as part of Ankara’s diplomatic effort to mend ties between the two countries.
“Given the goodwill of the parties, implementation of Turkish Stream could progress,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said after meeting Simsek, TASS reported. “Ankara confirmed it is open for resuming the dialogue on the project. Energy Minister Alexander Novak is going to hold consultations with his colleagues on the topic,” Dvorkovich told reporters.
Turkey is ready to initiate construction of the first line of the Turkish Stream, Economy Minister Zeybekci said in Moscow. “Political decisions are in place to settle the issue of further implementation of the project."
In December 2014, Ankara and Moscow signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of Turkish Stream. With an estimated price tag of €11.4bn, the project’s four-strand pipeline would carry a total of 63bn cubic metres of gas per year to Turkey and to southern Europe via Greece by 2020. Turkey will receive 14bn cm of that amount and the rest would be delivered to Europe.
Relations between Ankara and Moscow hit a low after a Russian bomber was downed by Turkish jets near the Syrian border last November. Russia retaliated by announcing a raft of economic sanctions, including the suspension of the project. Having seen the impact of the sanctions on the Turkish economy, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month decided to rebuild the relations.
As part of Ankara’s drive for reconciliation with Russia, Simsek and Zeybekci visited Moscow this week, ahead of a planned August 9 meeting between Erdogan and Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg.
The other lucrative energy project the delegations discussed in Moscow was the Akkuyu nuclear power plant. Turkey commissioned Russia’s Rosatom in 2010 to build the $22bn power plant, but tensions triggered by the plane incident put the implementation of the project at risk. The project includes construction of four power units with capacity of 1,200 MW each.
“There is some progress here already. The necessary regulatory framework is being finished by the Turkish side. We expect to be able to move forward quite quickly," Dvorkovich told reporters as reported by RT.