ERDOGAN: “THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION IS, FOR US, A RELIABLE FRIEND”
The President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, welcomed the excellent relationship between Ankara and Moscow, particularly highlighting joint projects in the field of energy.
The Turkish Head of State spoke Monday at the ceremony of completion of the under-sea work for the TurkStream gas pipeline between Russia and Turkey. Russian President Vladimir Putin was with Erdogan at the ceremony in Istanbul.
The marine part of the pipeline is 930 km long.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan first wanted to stress again the importance of the TurkStream project.
“The TurkStream pipeline is not only good for Turkey and our people, it is good for our entire region,” he said.
“After the tests, the TurkStream gas pipeline will, I hope, be operational in 2019,” the Turkish president explained.
The pipeline in question, which will consist of two lines when finished, the first to supply Turkey, and the second to transport the gas to Europe, is expected to deliver its first gas to Turkey by the end of 2019. The total annual capacity of the pipeline will be 31.5 billion cubic meters.
President Erdogan then wanted to return to Turkey – Russia relations.
“We are together to witness the high level reached in Turkey-Russia relations, especially in energy,” he said, thanking Vladimir Putin for his presence on this occasion.
“The Russian Federation is, for us, a reliable friend with whom we can cooperate in the long term, and a major gas supplier,” he said, recalling the difficulties encountered a few years ago: “Since 1987 Turkey has bought 387 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia. This shows that our energy cooperation has overcome all challenges.
But the Turkish President wants these good relations to go even further.
“Our goal is to reach a commercial volume of 100 billion dollars with Russia,” he said. I am convinced that our solidarity with Mr Putin and the Russian people heralds greater projects for our two countries “.
In conclusion, the Turkish President stressed Turkey’s determination to decide for itself the form that cooperation with Russia will take, on the commercial and economic, military, or regional level, giving the example of cooperation in Syria.
“We have never defined the framework of our relations with Russia according to the demands or pressures of other countries,” he said.