10/11/2016, 09.21
TURKEY - RUSSIA
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Russia and Turkey reinforce energy and military partnership in opposition to US

In Istanbul the two governments give the green light to TurkStream project. Two pipelines, for a total flow of 30 bcma. The first will serve domestic needs, the second will arrive at the coasts of southern Europe. Planned military-intelligence agreements on the agenda. Two fronts (still) distant, but united by their opposition to the United States.


 

Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Turkey and Russia have signed an inter-government agreement, which includes the construction - planned for some time – of the TurkStream pipeline to pump Russian gas from the Black Sea through the Turkish territory to Europe.

The signature on the contract arrived yesterday in Istanbul, in the context of the World Energy Congress underway in the Turkish metropolis. The first will be used to meet domestic demand, while the second will arrive on the coasts of southern Europe, bypassing the Ukrainian blockade (and the US).

chief executive of Russian energy giant Gazprom, Alexei Miller, confirmed that the agreement provides for the construction of two pipelines, each with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas (bcma), for a total value of 30 bcma.

The two lines should be ready by 2019 and will replace the old (and now defunct) South Stream project derailed by the sudden reversal of the European Union.

Along with economic and energy partnership, Ankara and Moscow also intend to strengthen cooperation at the military and intelligence levels.

Yesterday in Istanbul, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan also discussed the Syrian issue. The two leaders stressed the need to send aid and basic supplies to Aleppo, the epicenter of the conflict.

Relations between the two countries plummeted following the shooting down of a Russian fighter jet over Syrian skies by Ankara. However, in the aftermath of the attempted coup Turkey drawn increasingly close to the Kremlin, which reportedly provided valuable intelligence information to foil the threat.

The resumption of relations between Ankara and Moscow reflect the ever increasing distance between Turkey and the United States, once staunch allies, but now estranged over the demands for the extradition of the religious leader Fethullah Gülen, considered the "mastermind" of the coup.

Speaking at a joint press conference, Putin and Erdogan said they are confident about the "normalization" of relations between the two countries, which should happen quickly. Despite being an integral part of NATO, Ankara (and Moscow) is currently opposed to the Western bloc on several fronts. Both governments are also weighed down by the challenges in terms of economy, at a time of unyielding crisis.

Analysts and experts point out that the alliance between Turkey and Russia is based more on their "opposition" to common enemies than the ideas and projects "sharing". Both, for various reasons, are going through a time of "isolation" on the international level and both have "significant tensions" with Washington.

There are still some substantial divisions weighing on the resumption of relations between Turkey and Russia, one of which concerns the Syrian conflict. Moscow is the most faithful ally (along with Tehran) ally of President Bashar al-Assad, unpopular in Ankara, which instead supports the positions of the various (more or less) moderate rebel fronts.

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