ANKARA (Hetq)–Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and up to eight cabinet ministers will travel to Russia on January 12-13 for talks involving greater Russian participation in an oil pipeline linking Turkey’s southern and northern coasts and the process of rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia.
Turkish and Russian officials are expected to announce an agreement during the visit allowing Russian oil pipeline operator Transneft and Russian oil company Rosneft to have a share in the $2.5 billion Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline, which will run between Turkey’s Black Sea coast and the Mediterranean.
The talks are expected to be in the format of a joint cabinet meeting, not unlike similar meetings held in earlier visits by Erdogan to Syria and Iraq. In past remarks, Erdogan said his government wants to establish a mechanism with Russia similar to the high-level strategic councils created between Turkey and Syria and Turkey and Iraq last year. An agreement to initiate a similar mechanism with Russia was signed when Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited Ankara in August. Erdogan’s visit to Moscow will be the first step in this direction. Later, another meeting of the two countries’ cabinets is planned to take place in Turkey.
Peace in the Caucasus will be one of the top issues on the agenda of the Moscow visit. The joint cabinet meeting will also discuss the formation of a Caucasus Cooperation and Stability Platform, a joint mechanism proposed by Turkey following the Russian-Georgian War in August 2008 to manage regional conflicts.
Analysts predict that the negotiations between Turkey and Armenia may speed up following the Turkish-Russian talks.