Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday participated in a ceremony in İstanbul marking the completion of the sea section of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline, pro-government Sabah newspaper reported.
The TurkStream, when completed, will consist of two lines with the capacity to transport 31.5 billion cubic metres worth of gas from Russia. The first line will carry 15.75 billion cubic metres of gas to Turkey while the second line will transfer Russian gas to Europe through Turkey.
Identifying that the pipeline project is one of the outcomes of Turkey’s “tested friendship” with Russia throughout many years, Erdoğan said Ankara has never judged its relations with Moscow over demands placed by other countries. The Turkish president highlighted his desire for ‘’bigger projects’’ with Russia while addressing the press on Monday.
The pipeline - set to become operational by the end of 2019 - will go to Europe via Bulgaria and Serbia or through Greece and Italy.
The Russian President, for his part, said the most difficult part of the project had been completed and such a project would not have been realized without the confidence of both sides.
Putin thanked Erdoğan for his “political will and courage” and the Turkish Parliament for its immediate permission for the Turkish Stream.
"We are here to witness a very important event that clearly shows how our countries can effectively work together as partners on implementing the most complicated and ambitious projects," Putin said.
Plans to build the Turkish Stream were first announced by Putin in Dec. 2014 in Ankara; the project was introduced as a replacement for the South Stream pipeline ,which was to have been built with EU countries, but, much to the frustration of Putin, scrapped after years of planning.
Construction of the offshore section of the Turkish Stream began in May 2017. The first line, designed for the Turkish market, is expected to meet 35 percent of Turkey’s natural gas consumption.