President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (retranslated): Mr President of the Russian Federation, my friend Vladimir Putin. Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you from the bottom of my heart, with love and respect.
First of all, I would like to address the President of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Putin, and thank him for his visit to the wonderful city of Istanbul, to our country. Welcome to you and your delegation.
Relations between Turkey and Russia have reached their peak. This is reflected in our energy cooperation. We are now witnessing yet another step in this direction – the TurkStream gas pipeline. It reaching the coast of the Turkish Republic today is very important to us, and we are very happy about it.
The first step was taken in 2014. In 2016 the intergovernmental agreement already described the project’s concrete framework and now we have reached the last stage – the completion of the project.
Together with our Russian friends, we have invested a lot of effort in this project of historical significance, both bilaterally between our countries and geopolitically among the countries of the region. Ceremony marking the completion of TurkStream gas pipeline’s offshore section. Ceremony marking the completion of TurkStream gas pipeline’s offshore section.
The land and the sea area of the Russian Federation and of Turkey will be ready for the operation of the TurkStream gas pipeline in 2019 after tests are carried out.
The project’s offshore section was completed today. Two pipes are being laid in parallel. Their total length is 930 km. They are laid at the depth of over two kilometres beneath the surface of the water. Kıyıköy is the place where the construction of a gas receiving terminal is being carried out at a very rapid pace.
The pipe is expected to transport 31 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year.
This project has many benefits not only for our people and our country but also for our neighbours and the region as a whole. We plan to send to the European Union at least half of the natural gas that will be transported via this pipeline. As for our country, Istanbul, Bursa, Kocaeli and Izmir are vital centres for its production and export and their growth will get a boost as a result. This is why Turkey will be able to meet its own natural gas needs and those of the EU without subjecting itself to transit risks.
In cooperation with our Russian friends we have reliably carried out a very technically demanding project that meets high security standards. We also raised its already high resilience standards to an even higher level.
Friends, if we look at global energy markets, natural gas is becoming more important, as is the balance between demand and supply. In this sense, the economic potential of energy projects is very important taking into consideration the countries’ conditions on how natural gas will be supplied and consumed. Of course we should respect these decisions. Situations where countries’ sovereign rights are violated and where pressure is applied will be of no use to anyone.
For us, Russia is an old and reliable friend as well as an important supplier of natural gas, as these projects demonstrate.
Turkey has already purchased 387 billion cubic metres of natural gas since 1987. This is a very significant number. It shows our relations in the sphere of energy and other cooperation areas, and proves that our relations have already been through all kinds of tests. The friendship between Russia and Turkey has grown stronger over the years, resulting in various mutually beneficial projects. We have never made our bilateral relations dependent on pressure from “third countries.”
We have always made every effort to continue to develop long-term relations with Russia at the regional and global levels. We support justice, peace and stability to promote relations. We have always worked with our Russian friends toward this end. Our common position has already born fruit, especially regarding the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
Dear guests, our cooperation with Russia is developing in a wide range of areas. In early April we also began work on the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant project. We are implementing this nuclear energy project together with Russia.
Our countries’ complementary economies give us another opportunity. We can use this to our advantage to develop our bilateral trade. Last year it grew 30 percent. We aim to increase it to $100 billion.
Mutual investment, in addition to the Akkuyu project, accounts for more than $10 billion from each side. Speaking about tourism, in the first nine months of this year Turkey received 5.1 million Russian tourists. This is a new record.
Next year will be the Year of Tourism in both countries, with events designed to help our countries get to know each other better.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you, my friend, Your Excellency, Mr Vladimir Putin, and your delegation.
Mr Putin, of course, I am sure that cooperation with you will result in new projects and new results. I am very glad to welcome you all here once again, with great fondness and respect. I wish you all the best.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, my dear friend. Ladies and gentlemen,
To begin with, I would like to thank Mr Erdogan for inviting us to attend the ceremony marking the completion of TurkStream gas pipeline’s offshore section.
Before getting down to business – I may have to repeat some things or provide some more detailed information, which will be a pleasure for me – I would like to say that the trade turnover Mr President has just mentioned, $100 billion, will be actually Russia’s bilateral trade with China this year. But then, why should Russia’s trade with Turkey be smaller? I have no doubt that we can and will attain the same target in our relations with Turkey.
Now to the project at hand. We are taking part in a truly signal event that testifies to the effectiveness of our countries’ partner-like cooperation in accomplishing the most difficult and ambitious projects.
I would like to remind you that the agreement on building TurkStream was signed here, in Istanbul, on October 10, 2016. I think you know – I certainly do – who suggested naming the project TurkStream. Today, barely two years after the start of this large-scale venture, we have completed its most difficult part. It was really a very serious and challenging job – to build the deep-water part of the new gas pipeline.
Friends, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to note that extracting and transporting gas is no easy job as someone may think; it is not simply drilling a hole in the ground and then pumping. This is difficult work involving high technology, both for extraction and transport. Let me remind you that this is the most environment-friendly and the most popular type of primary energy in the world today.
It has already been said here, but I should correct my colleague that 1,800 kilometres of pipelines have been laid on the bottom of the Black Sea at a depth of 2,000 metres and more. The first of the two pipelines will pump Russian gas to western Turkey and the second will pump it to the countries of Southern and Southeastern Europe by transit. Of course, this transforms Turkey into a serious European hub, which, without a doubt, will reflect on Turkey’s role in the geopolitics.
The next stage is laying the ground part of TurkStream. We believe that this work will also be carried out at an accelerated pace so that we will be able to launch the pipeline by the end of 2019, as planned.
I want to stress that the cutting-edge technological solutions and the most advanced equipment are used in the construction; the strictest environmental standards and norms are observed.
Let me point out that Russia and Turkey have been successfully developing cooperation in energy for a long time, as Mr President said. In this context, let me also say that 13 years ago Mr Erdogan and I launched the first trans-Black Sea gas pipeline, Blue Stream, which directly connected Russia and eastern Turkey. Today more than half of all the Russian gas purchased for the Turkish markets goes through it. The long and stable exploitation of this pipeline, including during the difficult winter months, has proven that Russia is a reliable supplier of natural gas and has provided the Turkish economy with an environment-friendly and efficient type of fuel.
It goes without saying that the launching of Turk-Stream will allow our countries to drastically expand cooperation in the gas sector, will have great significance for Turkey’s economic development, and will also become an important factor in maintaining common European energy security.
I would like to use this opportunity and to thank the participants in this complicated project, including the experts and workers and those who have financed it.
I would like to thank President of the Republic of Turkey Mr Erdogan for displaying political will and courage. Why? Because it is impossible to implement projects like this in conditions of growing competition without these traits. The trust, mentioned by my Turkish colleague five minutes ago, hinges on this. And again, projects like this cannot be carried out without such trust.
But I would also like to thank many of our Turkish colleagues, including the former Minister of Economics who helped launch this project, and everyone who promptly authorised the issuance of the necessary permits and licenses. I would like to thank the members of parliament of the Turkish Republic for their support. All this has allowed the builders to meet the deadlines and to even work faster than planned.
I am confident that Turk-Stream, just like our other joint strategic project, Turkey’s first Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, will become an outstanding symbol of the progressive development of the Russian-Turkish diverse partnership and a pledge of friendship between our nations.
I wish successes to all of you and all of us in the future.
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (retranslated): Congratulations! Godspeed!
Vladimir Putin: Mr President, friends,
Such projects, including this project, are not directed against anyone’s interests. These projects are solely constructive. They aim to expand relations between states, to create stable conditions for economic development and to improve the well-being of our countries’ citizens in this way.
The implementation of this kind of projects, including this one, is an outstanding and positive example of the ability to defend one’s national interests because Turk-Stream completely meets the national economic interests of the Republic of Turkey.
I congratulate you on completing the most important stage of its implementation.
Thank you, Mr President.