Russia will not be suspending its Turkish Stream and Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant projects with Turkey despite implementing economic sanctions on trade following the downing of a Russian fighter jet on the Turkish border last week.
Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev told reporters on Tuesday that no decisions had been regarding those two projects in particular.
"As for major investment projects, there are no decisions yet to freeze them or to suspend funding. Therefore we believe that they are operating the same way they did before the adoption of this government decree," he said.
Regarding the Turkish Stream project, Ulyukayev said the suspension of it was not a matter for the government to issue a decree on as it depends on Russian gas giants Gazprom and Rosatom.
The Turkish Stream pipeline was announced as a replacement for the South Stream project for pumping gas to Europe, avoiding Ukraine, which Russian President Vladimir Putin dramatically pulled last year citing a lack of cooperation from the EU.
It will run under the Black Sea to the Turkish-Greek border, delivering 47 billion cubic metres of gas per year, eventually reaching its full capacity of 63 billion cubic metres.
The Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant is set to be Turkey’s first nuclear power plant after Russian nuclear construction company Atomstroyexport and Turkish construction company Ozdogu signed a site preparation contract in 2013.
The construction of the first unit will begin in 2016, with the four units put into service in 2020–22.
Russia introduced economic curbs on Turkish imports following the downing of a Russian Su-24 fighter jet on the Turkish border with Syria on Nov. 24.
One Russian fighter jet pilot was killed in the incident after being shot in mid-air by Syrian opposition forces on the ground.
Another pilot was rescued by a Russian team after ejecting from the jet, but one member of the Russian rescue team was also killed during the operation after Syrian opposition forces blew up their helicopter.
The body of the dead pilot, Oleg Peshkov, was handed over to Russia by Turkey on Monday after it was given to Turkey by the Syrian opposition forces.
According to the evidence provided by the Turkish authorities, the jet was shot down after violating Turkish airspace for 17 seconds, despite being given a total of 10 warnings in five minutes.
Turkey and Russia have been in disagreement over the Syrian civil war, with Turkey being an outspoken critic of Bashar al Assad’s regime since the war started in March 2011. While Turkey backs opposition groups, Russia has been firm in its support for the regime.
The disagreement worsened following high-level Russian military intervention in the Syrian conflict under the guise that Russian air strikes will target the DAESH terrorist group, which has taken advantage of the power vacuum arising from the war to seize swathes of land across the country, as well as in neighbouring Iraq.
However, to date, most Russian air strikes have targeted Syrian opposition forces in defence of the Assad regime. This includes the bombardment of Turkmen villages in Syria’s northwestern coastal province of Latakia near the Turkish border, thus escalating tensions with Turkey. Following Tuesday’s incident, Erdogan told Putin “not to play with fire” in Syria by supporting Assad.