“For us, Russia is a friend we can have long term cooperation with and is an important natural gas supplier,” the president said, speaking at the ceremony.
He identified that this project is one of the outcomes of a “tested friendship” throughout many years and said Turkey has never judged its relations with Russia over “impositions of other countries.”
“Countries’ decisions as to how to obtain natural gas in accordance with their own circumstances must be respected. Pressure, which will violate states’ sovereign rights and prevent them from serving their citizens, will benefit no one,” said Erdoğan.
“I believe our solidarity with Putin and the Russian people will be foreshadowing of bigger projects,” the president said.
The project has many advantages not only for Turkey, but also for the region and neighboring countries, he said.
“Turkish Stream is a project of historic proportions for our bilateral relations and for energy geopolitics in our region, on which we have exerted great efforts with our Russian friends,” Erdoğan said.
Putin, for his part, said the Turkish president had offered to name the pipeline “Turkish Stream” and added that the most difficult part of the project had been completed.
Such an important project would not be realized unless parties had confidence, the Russian president said. He thanked Erdoğan for his “political will and courage” and the Turkish Parliament for immediate permission for Turkish Stream.
TurkStream and the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant will be symbols of the development of relations between Turkey and Russia, he said, noting that his country wants to reach a $100 billion bilateral trade volume with Turkey.
The TurkStream will deliver Russian natural gas across the Black Sea to Turkey and then onto Europe.
Putin announced the plan to build Turkish Stream in Ankara in December 2014, as a replacement for the South Stream pipeline that was to have been built in cooperation with European Union countries.
South Stream was scrapped after years of planning, with Putin angrily blaming Brussels for its failure.
Gazprom began construction of the offshore section of the Turkish Stream in May 2017. The Turkish Stream project envisages the construction of two pipelines, each 939 kilometers long.
The first line will be designed for the Turkish market and will meet 35 percent of Turkey’s natural gas consumption alone. The second is for gas supply to countries in southern and southeastern Europe. The capacity of each line is 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The first deliveries are scheduled for the end of 2019.
The progress on the construction of the second line will depend on from where Russian natural gas will enter Europe, the relevant natural gas agreements to be signed and the route. Two lines will have a total throughput capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year.The first stream of gas is expected to flow through the pipeline in December 2019.
Natural gas extracted from Novy Urengoy in the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region in Russia’s Siberia will feed the Turkish Stream pipeline. The field, operated by the Russian energy giant Gazprom, sits on an estimated natural gas reserve of 12 trillion cubic meters, the second largest in the world after Iran’s Southern Pars field.
Natural gas produced in the field is also transferred to Germany, Poland, Austria, Denmark, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
A single gas field in Novy Urengoy, such as the 16th gas field, which employs 3,700 workers, can produce enough natural gas to meet Turkish Stream’s annual 31.5 billion cubic meters of capacity.