Russia not to 'risk' Turkey for Cyprus
ANTALYA - Anatolia News Agency
Both ministers signed a number of agreements and protocols during the 12th meeting of the Turkish-Russian Joint Economic Commission in Antalya April 20. AA photoRussia will not put its relations with Turkey at risk by getting involved in big energy companies’ activities in oil and gas drilling off the coast of Greek Cyprus, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak has said.
“There are still unsolved issues about Cyprus’ offshore and Russia takes notice of them,” said Novak during a press meeting after the 12th meeting of the Turkish-Russian Joint Economic Commission in Antalya on April 20.
Russia has close cooperation with Turkey, Novak said. “We would never think to harm business principles considering our friendly relations.” However, Novak said the Samsun-Ceyhan crude pipeline project was in an unclear state, noting that if the projects became fruitful, they could seek a new partner instead of former partner Italian Eni.
Turkey decided to suspend energy projects with Italian giant Eni in retaliation for the company’s involvement in oil and gas drilling off the coast of Greek Cyprus, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said at the end of March.
Eni has a share in the Samsun-Ceyhan crude pipeline, which is slated to span Turkey from the Black Sea province of Samsun to the oil hub of Ceyhan in the south. Eni, Russia’s Rosneft and Transneft and Turkey’s Çalık are all partners in the project.
Yıldız said that Turkey could consider canceling the Samsun-Ceyhan deal, adding that they could find alternatives to the Samsun-Ceyhan deal if it was canceled. Yıldız said Russia’s Gazprom and Rosneft would not join in projects in Greek Cyprus due to the strategic cooperation agreement between Turkey and Russia.
Trade volume target not ambitious
The aim to reach a trade volume between Russia and Turkey worth of $100 billion is "not that ambitious," Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said during a press conference after the 12th meeting of the Turkish-Russian Joint Economic Commission in Antalya April 20.
The current trade volume between both countries is approximately $34 billion. "It [$100 billion] means that we would have to triple our trade volume. If we look to the aspects of our trade the primary import materials are energy resources and metals, at around 87 percent," he said.
Novak emphasized that priority should be given to diversifying the traded goods. "It is especially important to realize new project in sectors where mostly new technologies are used, such as automotives, the nautical industry, and the machinery sector. Logistical and transportation centers are of great importance in this matter," Novak said.
For his part, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız stressed that the trade potential between the two countries was huge. "There are nearly 500 Russian companies operating in Turkey, while Turkish construction companies have $50 billion worth of transactions in Russia," Yıldız said.
Akkuyu nuclear plant to be completed 'on time'
At the end of the press conference, the ministers held a video conference with Turkish students studying at the National Research Nuclear University in Moscow, who are expected to operate Turkey's first nuclear plant built by a Turkish-Russian consortium. The students will mark history when they start working in Turkey, the Russian minister said.
Meanwhile, the director of the Akkuyu nuclear plant, Alexander Superfim, assured that work on the plant would be finished on time. It is currently scheduled to be completed in 2019.