Ankara dealings with Moscow crucial for Turkish Stream

The main subject on the agenda for today’s meeting between Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow may be the Syrian crisis, but, as is being reported by Turkish media, the two leaders will also seek to resolve differences on conditions concerning Turkish Stream, Russia’s latest natural gas pipeline proposal to Europe from the south, via the Greek-Turkish border area.

Just days ago, Turkish and Russian officals announced that negotiations for the pipeline project had reached a standstill.

Greece, which has already signed a memorandum of cooperation and understanding with Russia for the project, is awaiting developments on the pipeline’s Turkish segment. No further progress can be made unless Ankara and Moscow agree on their respective terms.

According to Turkish press, the main problem stopping the two sides from reaching a deal is the price to be set for Russian gas to be supplied through Turkish Stream, a pipeline planned to offer an annual capacity of 15.75-billion cubic meters, instead of 63 billion cubic meters as had been originally intended.

Russia’s Gazprom and Turkey’s Botas have agreed to revise price levels every three years. However, since January, Turkey has pushed for a 10.25 percent price reduction as well as a one-billion dollar advance payment from Russia. Moscow has insisted that any talks on a price reduction cannot proceed unless Ankara first signs an agreement committing Turkey to the project’s development through its territory.

The Greek government is keeping a close watch on these developments as it is placing high hopes on the pipeline’s construction, which will become a more realistic prospect if the Russian-Turkish issues are overcome.