ANKARA (Combined Sources)—The strengthening of relations between Russia and Turkey will have a positive impact of the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a television interview over the weekend.
During his visit to Turkey last week, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said active steps were being taken to resolve the Karabakh conflict.
“Serious work is being done to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and there is serious progress in this regard. Moscow is eager to see quick resolution of the conflict,” Putin added.
Davutoglu praised what he called positive steps taken by Russia in the conflict resolution process.
During his visit to Turkey, Putin signed several energy agreements, including an agreement to ensure Turkey’s participation in a planned Russian oil and gas pipeline, known as the South Stream, which is designed to rival the Western-backed Nabucco pipeline.
Turkey is also participating in the construction of the Nabucco pipeline, which is a US and European venture, sidestepping Russia, to ensure the flow Caspian natural resources to the West. Both proposed projects side-step Armenia.
While on a weekend visit to his hometown of Konya, Davutoglu was asked whether two major pipeline projects in which Turkey will play an integral role, Nabucco and South Stream, were rivals.
“No. As we stressed several times before, we do not see such strategic projects as rivaling each other but instead as complementary to one another. We look at all developments in the fields of energy, transportation, economy and trade with different perspectives,” Davutoğlu was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency in response.
Earlier, Turkish officials and experts underlined that the natural gas deals inked last week by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Putin will help make Turkey a regional energy hub but will not change its commitment to the Western-backed Nabucco pipeline project.
“Turkey’s course and priorities have not changed,” said a senior Turkish official on Friday, responding to suspicions likely to arise in the wake of Thursday’s deal, under which Turkey has allowed Russia to carry out feasibility studies in its exclusive territorial waters in the Black Sea for construction of the South Stream pipeline.
Russia’s South Stream pipeline rivals Nabucco, which has the backing of the EU and the United States and would provide Europe a supply of gas not subject to Russian control.
Furthermore, Davutoğlu stressed that Turkey is not a place for rival projects but complementary ones, while noting that Turkey will serve as a secure energy route, strengthening both regional economic integration and global economic structure. “Any cooperation with the European Union and the Nabucco project, which connects the European Union and Turkey, is a strategic priority for Turkey. It should be assessed as a whole. The Nabucco project that we signed in July demonstrated Turkey’s central importance for energy suppliers and energy consumers between the East and West,” Davutoğlu said.
He then continued saying that in line with agreements with Russia, the South Stream and the Samsun-Ceyhan energy routes illustrate Turkey’s integral role, connecting the East and West. “Being the intersection of the East-West and North-South energy corridor is a natural result of Turkey’s geography,” Davutoğlu concluded.
“Turkey will enhance its increasing role in world economic politics, participating in both transportation and trade in the East-West and North-South energy routes for years,” he said.