Erdogan meets Putin for ‘gas pipeline’

Two leaders meet for closed-door talks in Baku likely to discuss Turkish Stream gas pipeline

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin for closed-door talks in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku on the sidelines of 2015 European Games.

The Kremlin spokesman said the two leaders were likely to discuss a new gas pipeline, Turkish Stream, aimed to supply gas to Europe through Turkey.

No further details were given about the meeting.

Before the meeting, Erdogan criticised EU leaders for not attending the inaugural European Games being held in Baku, Azerbaijan.

“I could not see any leaders from the EU, although the name of the event is 'European Games’,” Erdogan said.

The new Turkish Stream project is an alternative pipeline which is planned to bring gas to Europe through Turkey, bypassing Ukraine with an aim of delivering 63 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year - 47 bcm of it to Europe - by 2020.

Turkey, Gazprom’s second biggest export market after Germany, is looking to secure a 15 percent gas discount from Gazprom, according to government sources.  

Although Russia and Turkey have  close relationship in energy, Putin’s rejection of attending Turkey’s commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli victory during World War I on April 24 disappointed Erdogan.

Putin did not attend Turkey’s commemorations and chose to be in the  commemoration of the Armenian deaths in Yerevan.

Putin described the incidents of 1915, which is a debate between Turkey and Armenia, as “a sorrowful date linked to one of the most tragic and dramatic events in the history of humanity – the genocide of the Armenian people,” according to the Kremlin’s official website.

Erdogan condemned Putin’s statements, saying "It's not the first time Russia has used the word genocide on this issue. I'm personally sad that Putin took such a step.”

“What is happening in Ukraine and Crimea is evident. They should firstly explain these before calling what happened [in the Ottoman Empire] a genocide," said Erdogan, speaking at a conference on April 27 in Ankara.

Meanwhile, Putin became the first world leader to call Erdogan in order to congratulate him on the governing Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) success following the country’s critical June 7 election.

TRTWorld and agencies