Putin presents Erdogan new plan for gas deliveries to Europe
Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday that Moscow could export more gas via Turkey and turn it into a new supply "hub", during the 6th summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
Russian news agency Ria Novoski reported that Gazprom also held consultations on this issue with the Turkish Minister of Energy and the head of Botas as the press secretary of the head of state Dmitry Peskov added that the issue was instructed by both leaders to "work out in detail and very quickly."
Turkish side has shown great interest
Gazprom CEO Alexey Mille later said Russia and Turkey have agreed to quickly move on to a specific discussion of the timing of the implementation of new gas proposals from Russia and negotiations can begin as early as next week, Russian news agency Tass reported.
"The Turkish side has shown great interest. We agreed with our colleagues, in particular at the corporate level and with the Minister of Energy of Turkey, that we will start the dialogue very, very quickly, literally starting early next week, and we will move on to a specific discussion of volumes and terms of the project’s implementation," he said in an interview with Channel One.
Putin and Erdogan already gave instructions
According to Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Putin and Erdogan have already given instructions to work on the possibility of creating a gas hub on the territory of the country. "Instructions were immediately given by both presidents - right during the negotiations - to work on this issue. Various options have even been discussed," he said.
Putin said Turkey offered the most reliable route to deliver gas to the European Union, and the proposed platform would allow prices to be set without politics.
“The hub will be a platform not only for supplies, but also for determining the price, because this is a very important issue," Putin said.
"Unwavering stance of Tayyip Erdogan"
The Russian president added that such a result was achieved "due to the unwavering stance" of Turkish President Erdogan regarding the construction of the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline.
Touching upon other spheres of interaction between Moscow and Ankara, Russian President Putin noted that " active work is underway in this direction" adding that it can be proven by "solid growth in the mutual trade turnover this year and over the past year as well."
Russia is looking to redirect supplies away from the Nord Stream Baltic gas pipelines, damaged in explosions last month that are still under investigation.
Russia supplied about 40% of Europe's gas before the eruption of war in Ukraine but had cut flows sharply even before the explosions, blaming technical problems that it said were the result of Western sanctions.
Turkish mediation was not discussed
Before the meeting, the Kremlin officials said they expected a formal offer from the Turkish side to host talks between Russia and Ukraine but Ria Novoski quoted Peskov saying "the topic of a Russian-Ukrainian settlement was not discussed" by the leaders.
Relations with NATO member Turkey are vital to Russia at a time when the West has hit it with waves of economic sanctions, which Ankara has refrained from joining. Turkey has, however, rejected Russia's move to annex four Ukrainian regions as a "grave violation" of international law.
Erdogan has sought to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv, and achieved a rare breakthrough in July when, together with the United Nations, he brokered an agreement allowing for the resumption of commercial Ukrainian grain exports from Black Sea ports that Russia had blockaded.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has ruled out talking to Putin after he proclaimed the annexation of the four Ukrainian regions and after Russia rained missiles on Ukrainian cities this week in the wake of an attack on a vital bridge between Russia and Crimea, the peninsula it seized in 2014.