ISTANBUL (Hurriyet)–Ankara is eager to enhance its cooperation with Moscow, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday, a day after reports indicated that Russia has invited Turkey to participate in its South Stream gas pipeline project.
Davutoglu told reporters after his meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Ankara would continue discussing every issue, including energy projects, with Moscow within the framework of the idea of cooperation, when asked about Russian offer to Turkey to participate in South Stream gas pipeline project.
Lavrov said that “if Turkey wants, and an economic agreement is reached, Russia would accept their participation in the project in every facet,” CNN reported.
He told reporters before the meeting that the Turkish and Russian parties would exchange views on new goals and the dialogue within the scope of the political declaration which was signed during President Abdullah Gul’s visit to Russia on Feb. 13, 2009.
On Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, Russia’s top energy official, told Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz during their meeting that Turkey is welcome to participate in the South Stream project, which aims to transport Russian gas under the Black Sea through Eastern Europe to Austria and Italy.
Sechin did not mince words, however, about the Russian offer’s goal of damaging Nabucco’s chances of success.
Turkey is a crucial partner in the Nabucco project, which Europe is counting on to ease its energy dependence on Russia.
Asked about the benefits of Russia’s offer over Nabucco, Sechin said: “The clear economic accounting, the coordination of all the factors, and the efficiency should clearly show which project is the best,” Itar-Tass news agency reported.
On Monday, Russia dealt a heavy blow to the Nabucco project by securing supplies of Azeri gas, which has been identified as the main potential source for the EU-backed pipeline.