Erdogan, Putin meet ahead of launch of TurkStream

2 leaders also come together for brief meeting in Istanbul after launch of TurkStream natural gas pipeline project

Nilay Kar Onum and Handan Kazanci   | 08.01.2020
Erdogan, Putin meet ahead of launch of TurkStream


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Istanbul.

Their meeting came ahead of the launch ceremony of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project in the city, which the two leaders are set to attend.

The closed-door meeting was held at Istanbul Halic Congress Center and lasted for nearly an hour-and-a-half.

At the meeting, Erdogan presented a book to Putin called Strategic Step on the Eastern Mediterranean Equation: The Turkey-Libya Deal.

Prepared by Turkey’s Communication Directorate in both Turkish and English, the book relates Turkey’s stance on the Eastern Mediterranean as well as the geopolitical importance of the Eastern Mediterranean and hydrocarbon potential in the region.

Also attending the TurkStream ceremony were Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

Erdogan and Putin came together for a brief meeting after the launch ceremony of the TurkStream project, as well.

The meeting lasted 25 minutes and attended by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as well as Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu. 

Turkish-Russian energy cooperation

Security measures were high in the city, as a total of 7,200 police officers were on duty for the inauguration ceremony.

Among security forces were 300 special operations teams and 30 bomb squad specialists working around hotels where foreign leaders were staying or along the routes they would travel before and during the event.

Also, three police helicopters, four marine boats, four specially trained dogs, and 30 armored vehicles supported Turkish security forces.

Following the ceremony, Erdogan is to host the leaders of Russia, Serbia, and Bulgaria at a dinner.

The TurkStream project consists of two lines with a total capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year.

The first line will carry 15.75 bcm of Russian gas to Turkish consumers every year, and the second line will carry another 15.75 bcm from Russia to Europe via Turkey.

BOTAS built the first line that will connect to Turkey’s existing gas grid, while the second, to be operated by a Gazprom-BOTAS joint venture, will stretch to the Turkish-European border in Turkey's Thrace region.

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