Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated on Saturday that Turkish Stream pipeline project has been shelved by the Turkish government, not Russia, because Moscow has not fulfilled Ankara’s core demands regarding the pipeline project.
Erdogan said, “There have been reports in the press that Turkish Stream project has been stopped by Russia. Our dear brothers do not believe such lies. On the contrary, Turkish Stream is a project which has been shelved by us for some time because our demands have remained unmet [by Russia],” in a meeting on innovation, in Istanbul Congress Center.
“We need to know what is true about this issue. Therefore, there is no connection between recent incidents [concerning downing of Russian jet] and Turkish Stream project,” he added.
Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet over an air space violation in north-western Syria near the Turkish border on Nov. 24.
The recent incident has caused a political crisis between the countries, which have strong economic ties with each other, leading Turkish and Russian leaders to issue warnings to one another.
Russia has decided to impose economic sanctions on Turkey following the incident and Putin has recently signaled further sanctions against the country, escalating his harsh rhetoric.
Russia’s state-run company Gazprom Deputy Chairman Alexander Medvedev announced in mid-September that Turkish Stream pipeline project will not be implemented by the end of 2016, as it has previously been planned, because of continuing disagreements between Turkey and Russia.
In addition, Gazprom’s top manager Alexei Miller previously announced that the company will provide Turkey two billion cubic metres of gas through Turkish Stream pipeline, which is currently not a working project, rather than Ankara’s request of additional three billion cubic metres through Blue Stream.
Indeed, both countries were meticulously planning for the project since Russia relinquished its plans for the $40 billion South Stream pipeline project in December 2014 due to objections from the European Union (EU) on competition grounds.
The Turkish Stream project was an alternative pipeline which had been planned to bring gas to Europe through Turkey, bypassing Ukraine, with an aim of pumping 63 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year - 47 bcm of which will be delivered to Europe - by 2020. The rest of 16 bcm would be allocated for domestic use in Turkey.