Russian PM Arrives In Ankara For Energy, Economic Talks



Aug 6 2009

ANKARA, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
arrived in the Turkish capital of Ankara Thursday morning for a one-day
working visit to the country upon Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan’s invitation.

Talks between the two countries are expected to focus on energy and
economic issues and ways to boost cooperation and enhance mutual
relations, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Burak Ozugergin told
a press briefing Wednesday.

During Putin’s visit, Turkish and Russian authorities would sign two
agreements, one on the peaceful use of nuclear energy and the other
on the exchange of information on nuclear facilities, said Ozugergin.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will attend the signing
ceremony of one of the agreements to be inked by Turkey and Russia
in Ankara on Thursday.

The main reason for Berlusconi’s involvement in the talks is to
discuss energy issues, above all the planned Russian South Stream
pipeline to transport gas to Europe, Turkish media said.

Putin’s visit came after Turkey and European Union (EU) countries
signed last month an intergovernmental deal to launch the Nabucco
natural gas pipeline project that the EU hopes will reduce its energy
dependence on Russia.

The Nabucco pipeline is expected to transport gas from Caspian,
Central Asian and Middle Eastern suppliers to Europe.

Meanwhile, Russia hopes for Turkey’s support for its own South Stream
pipeline project, which is designed to carry Russian gas across the
Black Sea to Europe.

Russian officials have invited Turkey to join the South Stream project,
an offer Turkey has not openly rejected, said Turkish Today’s Zaman
newspaper on Thursday.

Without Turkey’s support for the South Stream project, the pipeline
would have to go through the territorial waters of Ukraine under the
Black Sea instead of crossing Turkey’s territorial waters.

Russia has seen gas supply rows in the past three years with Ukraine
over price disputes, which led to the freezing of gas transmission
to some European countries.

On Wednesday, Ozugergin underlined the strategic dimension of Nabucco,
saying the project "is not against anyone" and "is part of the assets
that will make Turkey an indispensable part of the EU," according to
Today’s Zaman.

During Putin’s visit, the latest developments in the South Caucasus,
Turkish-Armenian relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh problem are also
expected to be discussed, said the newspaper.