Putin Met And Congratulated Erdoğan for Defeating the July 15 Coup Bid
Russian President Vladimir Putin met Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul on Monday, pushing forward ambitious joint energy projects on his first visit to Turkey since a crisis in ties.
Only a few months ago, the two post-imperial strongmen were exchanging bitterly personal accusations after Turkey shot down a Russian war plane on the Syrian border last November.
But after a June agreement to normalise ties, this was the pair’s third meeting following an initial ice-breaking meeting in Saint Petersburg and an encounter on the sidelines of the G20 in China in September.
Before their meeting began at the Ottoman-era Yıldız Palace in Istanbul, the pair reaffirmed their commitment to the planned TurkStream gas pipeline to pump Russian gas under the Black Sea to Europe in speeches to an energy congress.
Speaking at the World Energy Congress, Putin vowed that the project would be realised, while Erdoğan said work was already under way and Turkey looked on it “positively”.
Putin also congratulated Erdoğan for defeating the July 15 coup bid against his rule, saying Russia had been very concerned by the situation and was “glad” Turkey was now recovering..
Pipeline or pipe dream? –
The TurkStream pipeline is planned to pump 31.5 billion cubic metres per year of Russian gas to Europe, helping Moscow limit the gas transit through Ukraine.
Russia is also slated to build Turkey’s first nuclear power station in Akkuyu on the Mediterranean, a project which Erdogan sees a pillar of the hydrocarbon-poor country’s drive for greater energy self-sufficiency.
Erdoğan said Turkey wanted to produce around 10 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy, with Akkuyu the first of three planned nuclear plants.