President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on the leaders of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan for the launch of works for transporting the latter’s natural gas to the European markets via Türkiye at a three-way summit that focused on improving energy, transportation and trade ties. The three countries have decided to establish a working group to study the project.
“We should now begin the works for transmitting the Turkmen natural gas to the Western markets. We are ready to cooperate with our Turkmen and Azerbaijani brothers in the Friendship Field in the Caspian Sea,” Erdoğan said at a three-way summit held in Ashgabat on Dec. 14. Erdoğan underlined that the growing energy crisis in the world has increased the significance of supplying resources from alternative routes.
The trilateral Türkiye-Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan summit was hosted by Turkmenistan President Serdar Berdimuhamedov with the participation of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev as well as foreign, energy and transportation ministers from the three countries. Erdoğan had bilateral meetings with both Berdimuhamedov and Aliyev on the margins of the summit. The leaders also signed five agreements on economy, trade, energy, customs and culture to further boost three-way ties.
Citing strong brotherly relations between the three countries, Erdoğan expressed his belief that these ties will further improve on the basis of strategic advantages of the three states, saying “Our objective is to use the new opportunities that were developed with the regional and global dynamics for the welfare of our people and stability of our region.”
Turkmenistan is one of largest producers of natural gas in the world but its resources mainly go to Russia. There were long discussions to carry Turkmen natural gas directly to the European markets via the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan and Türkiye but regional disputes did not allow it. The summit in Ashgabat is seen as an important venue for launching a new effort to this end. There are already functioning gas and oil pipelines from Azerbaijan to Türkiye and to Europe.
Erdoğan also stressed that Türkiye was ready to negotiate transmitting electricity from both Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.
It is also very important to develop the transportation channels in the region so that Türkiye, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan can increase their trade volume, the president noted. “The Middle Corridor that comes to the fore as a reliable transportation destination is to our advantage. We have completed the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway as an important leg of this corridor,” he said, underlining that the east-west corridor is now running without any problem.
Peace efforts continue
Recalling that the Russia-Ukraine war has shaken the pillars of the global system and humanity is facing with the negative consequences of the war, Erdoğan said, reiterating Ankara’s efforts to bring an end to the armed conflict through diplomacy.
“I have already said that war has no winner.” We have exerted efforts to end the bloodshed. We have seen in the examples of the grain deal and prisoners’ exchange that the road to peace can be opened. I continue to stay in touch with [Russian President Vladimir] Mr. Putin and [Ukraine President Volodomyr] Mr. Zelensky,” he stressed.