Energy ties top agenda of PM’s Azerbaijan visit

Energy ties top agenda of PM’s Azerbaijan visit

Energy ties top agenda of PM’s Azerbaijan visit

Along with PM Erdoğan, Azeri President Aliyev will co-chair a strategic meeting. EPA photo

Bilateral economic relations between Ankara and Baku – particularly the natural gas trade - are likely to top the agenda of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s talks with Azerbaijani officials during his two-day visit to the Turkic country, which is scheduled will kick off today.

Gabala will be the first stop on Erdoğan’s visit, as the city will be hosting a meeting of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council, which will be co-chaired by Erdoğan and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev. Erdoğan will also visit the city of Shaki.

Decisions made during last year’s meeting of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council held in the Aegean city of İzmir and the progress made so far by the working groups established during that meeting will be reviewed in Gabala, Anatolia news agency reported yesterday, citing anonymous sources. Measures aimed at increasing the trade volume between the two countries will also be discussed.

A deal signed between the two capitals in June to build the $7 billion Trans-Anatolian natural gas pipeline (TANAP), which will carry Caspian gas to Turkey’s west, is also among the most important agenda items during Erdoğan’s visit, Anatolia also said. 

The visit comes only one week after top ranking representatives from Turkey, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and the European Union met in Ashgabat to discuss adding Turkmenistan, reportedly the holder of world’s fourth largest natural gas reserves, to the TANAP project in a bid to meet the rising demand in both Turkey and Europe. The plan foresees the construction of a trans-Caspian pipeline, which is not particularly favored by other nations with coasts on the Caspian Sea.

Turkey and Europe attach great importance to the TANAP project, as part of their efforts to diversify their gas imports mainly from Russia. The EU and Moscow are currently at odds over a new EU probe into Russia’s Gazprom. 

After wrapping up his talks in Azerbaijan, Erdoğan will proceed to Kiev tomorrow. In Kiev he will hold a meeting of the two countries’ High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council, with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych co-chairing the council meeting with him.

During the visit to Kiev, Erdoğan also plans to hold talks in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea on Sept. 14 and attend the ninth annual meeting of the Yalta European Strategy (YES) as a guest of honor, where he will deliver a speech. He will then proceed to Bosnia-Herzegovina for a two-day visit, during which he will receive the Isa Beg Ishakovic award. While in Sarajevo, he will also hold talks with Bosnian-Herzegovian officials.