New Turkish, Azeri deal boosts Nabucco hopes

Turkey signed an agreement with Azerbaijan yesterday to supply natural gas to the much-discussed Nabucco pipeline project, which will transport Caspian gas across Turkey to Eastern European.

The Şahdeniz II agreement was signed between the energy ministers of both countries in İzmir with the participation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Azeri President İlham Aliyev during their first High Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting.

“The details of the agreement will be revised by our energy ministers,” Erdoğan told reporters at the press conference but said he was expecting the completion of the pipeline’s construction between Turkey and Azerbaijan next year. Turkey will buy 6 billion cubic meters of gas from Azerbaijan and will help with the transfer of another 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe via the Nabucco pipeline, according to information obtained by the Hürriyet Daily News.

The EU-backed Nabucco project is designed to curb Europe’s dependency on Russian resources by acquiring gas from other countries’ resources in the Caspian region and the Middle East, particularly Azerbaijan. The signing of the agreement is an important development for the realization of Nabucco, whose contractors failed to tender the 6,500 kilometers pipeline crossing Turkish, Bulgarian, Romanian, Hungarian and Austrian territories.

The first council meeting between Turkey and Azerbaijan focused on economic issues, but the two regional allies also signed agreements on communications, encouraging investments, police force education and family and social policy.

The agreement would make Azerbaijan one of the most important gas suppliers to the European continent, Aliyev said while hailing bilateral cooperation with Turkey.

Ahead of the council meeting, Erdoğan delivered a speech at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Aegean Refinery in Aliağa and said Turkey and Azerbaijan shared the same views on the Cyprus and Nagorno-Karabakh issues, the same ideals on bringing peace to the Caucasus and the same approach to terrorism.

Turkey will “fight shoulder to shoulder with Azerbaijan until the occupation of Karabakh comes to an end,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at the opening ceremony of an oil refinery in İzmir.

“The occupation of Karabakh saddens Turkish nationals as it does Azerbaijani brothers,” he said, adding that he believed “Azerbaijani brothers” shared the sorrow of Turks whenever a Turkish youngster was killed in terror attacks.

“No country should forget that one day, they will also become the target of the terrorists they are tolerating or turning a blind eye to,” Erdoğan said, urging regional countries to fight against the threat.

Turkey was always grateful to Azerbaijan for its support to Turkey in counter-terrorism, he said, adding that Turkey was grateful to Azerbaijan for extending a helping hand in the first hours following Oct. 23’s devastating earthquake in the eastern province of Van.

Erdoğan thanked Aliyev for the rescue teams, which rescued three people.

“Turkey is a great state and can solve all of its problems. Our extending a helping hand after the earthquake in Van was an act that came right from our heart,” Aliyev said.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011