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Erdogan and Putin inaugurate pipeline supplying Turkey and Europe with Russian gas

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, officially inaugurated on Wednesday the Turkish gas pipeline (Turkish Stream), which symbolizes their closeness and will transport Russian gas to Turkey and Europe.

During a ceremony in Istanbul, Erdogan described the inauguration of the gas pipeline, which is able to transport 31.5 billion cubic meters of Russian gas annually, as “a historical event of Turkish-Russian relations and the regional energy map.”

For his part, Putin said, “The partnership between Russia and Turkey is strengthening in all fields, despite the efforts of those who oppose it.”

After their speeches, the two presidents opened a symbolic valve for a gas pipeline to indicate the start of work on this pipeline.

The project, which began building in 2017, symbolizes the strong rapprochement in relations between Russia and Turkey after the 2015 diplomatic crisis.

With the introduction of the new gas pipeline, Turkey believes in feeding its major western cities that consume a large amount of energy, and also imposes itself as a primary energy corridor.

The project allows Russia to supply gas to south and southwestern Europe without the need to pass through Ukraine, which was the main passage of Russian gas to Europe previously, but this changed with the deterioration of relations between Kiev and Moscow significantly since Russia’s annexation of the Crimea and the start of the conflict with separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014 .

The Turkish line consists of two parallel tubes of 930 km, connecting Anapa in Russia to the town of Kikoy in northwestern Turkey.

The line began last week to feed Bulgaria, which borders Turkey, and will gradually expand its scope towards Serbia and Hungary.

The launch of the gas pipeline comes in light of the increasing tension in Libya and Syria, the two countries where Russian and Turkish interests do not meet.

“With Russia, we have not let our recent differences of views harm our common interests,” Erdogan said during the ceremony.

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