Russia's Putin Denies Turkish Stream Has Lost Momentum
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project hasn’t lost momentum but needs elaboration due to the large number of legal, technical and economic issues which the two sides have to resolve jointly.
“Such a large-scale project cannot be developed and agreed overnight,” Putin said in an interview with Russian news agency Interfax and Turkey’s Anadolu agency ahead of the G-20 summit to be held on November 15-16 in the Turkish resort of Antalya.
Recalling that Russia had passed to the Turkish side its ideas about a bilateral intergovernmental agreement on the project in July, Putin said that Moscow expects that the new government in Ankara would be able to organise work on the key aspects of the agreement in a short period of time.
Putin also acknoweledged that the negotiations over the agreement have been delayed by Turkey’s parliamentary elections.
"We understood that and did not force the events," Putin said.
Moscow and Ankara have yet to sign an intergovernmental agreement to build Turkish Stream but they are at odds whether the project should kick off with a single branch for Russian gas deliveries to Turkey only, or a second branch should be laid alongside it, stretching to Turkey’s border with Greece for deliveries to customers in southern Europe.
Meanwhile, Turkey has taken Russia to international arbitration over a gas price dispute.
Turkish Stream, unveiled by Gazprom in December 2014, replaced South Stream – a gas pipeline project designed to carry Russian gas to the EU across the Black Sea and via Bulgaria – which Gazprom had to abandon over competition concerns of the European Commission.
"It is known that the EU and Bulgaria torpedoed the implementation of South Stream and did not let us implement this project, though it was clearly in the interests of Bulgaria and the entire southern Europe," Putin said in the interview.
The countries, which refused to take part in the construction of South Stream, “will have to count lost profits," the Russian President said.
The summit of G-20 leaders in Antalya will be chaired by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It will focus on the current state of the global economy, sustainable growth, development and climate change, investment, trade and energy.
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