MOSCOW, November 13. /TASS/. Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline project is not slowing down and goes in line with Russia’s and Turkey’s interests but it requires elaboration, Rusian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Interfax and Anadolu information agencies.
"I cannot agree with your opinion that the TurkStream is slowing down. Such a large-scale project cannot be developed and agreed overnight," the president said, adding that "there are many legal, technical and economic, technological and organisational issues - including the number of the pipeline strings taking into account the actual need in gas acquisition and pumping volumes - which we have to decide together with our Turkish colleagues."
"The better we resolve these issues, the faster and with fewer risks and resources we will be able to implement our plans and ensure an uninterrupted delivery of Russian gas directly to Turkish consumers. The main thing is that this project is fully in the interests of both Russia and Turkey. We are one on this with my Turkish colleague Recep Tayyip Erdogan," Putin said.
The president added that "we passed our ideas on the bilateral intergovernmental agreement, which should provide legal basis for project implementation, to the Turkish side last July." "We expect that the new Turkish government would be able to organise work on the key aspects of the above-mentioned agreement in a short period of time," Putin said.
He also acknowledged that "the pace of the negotiation process has been definitely affected by the political situation on the eve of the elections in Turkey." "We understood that and did not force the events," President added.
"It is known that the EU and Bulgaria torpedoed the implementation of the South Stream and did not let us implement this project. Though it was clearly in the interests of Bulgaria and the entire southern Europe," Putin said.
Meanwhile, "the TurkStream would make it possible to deliver Russian natural gas to the border between Turkey and Greece, virtually to the border of the EU," he said. "European consumers would be able to buy it there. But the countries that refused to take part in constructing the new pipeline would have to count lost profits," Putin said, adding that Russia "will continue to be a strategic and reliable energy supplier to Turkey and Europe" and that "we have everything necessary for this."
According to Putin, Russia and Turkey have different positions on Syria’s problems but this does not hamper bilateral contacts.
"It is true that the two countries have different views on the ways to resolve the crisis in Syria. But the important thing is that Russia and Turkey share the same priorities - we both stand for settling the situation in the region and effectively combating terrorism," Putin said.
"With this in mind, the existing differences should not hamper our bilateral relations. On the contrary, in looking for the common ground, we draw upon vast experience of constructive cooperation between our countries," he added.
"While the US and the European Union unilaterally introduced sanctions, Turkey took an independent stand. Such an independent policy pursued by Ankara to meet its national foreign policy interests deserves great respect," the president said.
"Such a pragmatic approach opens up new horizons for the development of Russian-Turkish relations - first of all, their business dimension," Putin said.
Russian president’s aide Yuri Ushakov told journalists on Friday Syrian settlement will be in focus of a meeting between Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on November 15, at a Group of Twenty summit in Turkey’s Antalya.
"A meeting with the host of the summit, Turkish President Erdogan will take place [on November 15]. The two leaders are to discuss the situation in the economic sphere, our cooperation, energy cooperation. And, naturally, we expect them to speak about Syria," Ushakov said, adding he did not rule out that up to 90% of the meeting would be dedicated to the Syrian settlement.