Posts Tagged ‘Gazprom’

Turkish President Erdogan has taken steps to mend relations with both Russia and Israel. What lies behind Ankara’s recent charm offensive?

Turkish President Erdogan‘s Monday letter to Vladimir Putin containing his sincere condolences to the family of the Su-24 pilot who was shot down by the Turkish F-16 in November 2015 and apology may have a serious impact on the current geopolitical situation in the Middle East and Europe.

But that is not all: on the same very day Ankara and Tel Aviv agreed to mend their relations, ruined six years ago by a maritime clash between Israeli Navy and pro-Palestinian Turkish activists.

“The feuds that Turkey set out to end had become intertwined. Talks with gas-rich Israel gained momentum after Turkey downed the Russian jet and Ankara sought to cut its reliance on Russian fuel. In addition to the economic benefits, the twin-track rapprochement may bolster the Turkish government, which has found itself increasingly sidelined amid attempts to end regional conflicts, especially in Syria where Moscow is now the dominant international player,” Onur Ant of Bloomberg suggests.

Vladimir Putin meets with Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Following the shooting down of the Russian jet bomber, trade between Russia and Turkey that had reached $30 billion a year decreased tremendously, Ant points out. Needless to say, this chill has dealt a heavy blow to Turkey’s economy.Citing Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, the journalist underscores that after having made a considerable step towards improving its relationship with Moscow, Ankara hopes that Russia and Turkey will resume investments and cooperation in tourism.

What has been the trigger for Erdogan’s initiative to ramp up relations with Moscow and Tel Aviv?

Siobhan O’Grady of Foreign Policy magazine noted Monday that not everything is rosy in the EU-Turkish garden: contrary to Ankara’s expectations Germany has recognized the Ottoman Empire’s genocide against Armenians in 1915.

To add insult to injury, “a group of German lawyers and human rights activists announced they had filed a civil suit against Erdogan for allegedly carrying out ‘war crimes’ against Kurds in Turkey,” the journalist reported.Commenting on Ankara’s motivation to mend ties with Moscow and Tel Aviv, O’Grady added that Erdogan’s “active steps to improve relations with the Kremlin and Israel come amid growing concern about the Islamic State’s threat to Middle Eastern security.”

President of the Center for Systems Analysis and Forecasting Rostislav Ishchenko believes that Erdogan’s letter to Vladimir Putin has become a reaction to UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s political gamble that resulted in the “Brexit” vote.

A looming Brexit has not only prompted Cameron to resign but also upset a balance of power in the European Union.

“Together with Britain, 13 percent of the EU’s budget is leaving the bloc,” Ishchenko stressed in his op-ed for RIA Novosti, adding that following Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, Berlin will be forced to cut back its financial aid to the countries of Eastern and Southern Europe.

According to Ishchenko, Ankara apparently planned to revive its economy, hit by Russian sanctions, at the expense of the EU and its refugee program.Now, with the integrity of the European bloc hanging in the balance and the Euroskeptic movement having gained a second wind, the EU is no longer focused on Turkey and its requests for financial assistance.

Ishchenko underscored that in the event of a further Russo-Turkish thaw, Moscow may potentially gain the upper hand in the ongoing Syrian crisis.

Moscow is interested in Ankara changing its stance toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and pressuring Turkey-backed opposition groups into joining Assad at the negotiating table.

On the other hand, the resumption of talks on the Turkish Stream project could significantly bolster Russia’s positions on the global natural gas market, the expert believes.

Interestingly enough, on Monday Gazprom signaled that it is “open for dialogue” with Ankara on construction of an underwater gas pipeline as part of the Turkish Stream project.

“We have always been open for dialogue on Turkish Stream, and we remain open now,” Gazprom’s spokesperson Kupriyanov said in an official statement.

Advertisements

A wide array of lucrative bilateral cooperation agreements have been signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during Putin’s visit to China this past week.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have inked more than 30 substantive agreements on bilateral cooperation. They cover many fields, including energy and trade.The documents were signed during Putin’s visit to China, which took place between June 24 and June 25.

In honor of Putin’s arrival in Beijing, a Chinese choir performed Kalinka Malinka, probably the most well-known Russian folk song.

Bilateral economic cooperation topped the agenda of Putin’s talks with the Chinese President.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping
Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping

“We are changing our trade turnover structure, [steering it] in the right direction. This year, our exports of cars and equipment to China almost doubled, and we are very much grateful to our Chinese friends,” Putin told reporters after the talks.

Development of a new long-haul aircraft

On Saturday, Russia and China signed deals that will allow them to cooperate on the construction of a wide-fuselage long-range plane and a civil heavy-lift helicopter.

A memorandum on building a 250-300-seat plane to rival Airbus and Boeing was inked during President Putin’s trip to Beijing back in 2014. A similar agreement between Russian Helicopters and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China was signed in May 2016.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to China. Day Two
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China. Day Two

As for the new helicopter, it is expected to make its maiden flight in 2020, and by 2024 it is supposed to be fully certified. The helicopter is likely to be manufactured at an aircraft factory in Tianjin; demand for it is currently estimated at about 200 units.

Russian Railways and China Railway

The Russian company Russian Railways (RZD) and the company China Railway signed a comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement and a framework deal on the localization of the production of rolling stock and railway equipment in Russia.

Although the sides did not sign an agreement on financing the high-speed Moscow-Kazan railway, President Putin pledged that  Moscow and Beijing will agree on its construction before the end of this year.

“We will coordinate issues related to the construction of the high-speed Moscow-Kazan railway by year-end, and a step forward in this direction was made already today,” Putin said on Saturday.

Energy

During Putin’s visit to China, the Russian gas giant Gazprom and its Chinese partner CNPC clinched a preliminary agreement on the construction of underground gas storage facilities on Chinese territory.

Separately, the Russian oil company Rosneft and China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation signed an agreement on the construction and delivery of a floating transfer dock facility for the Zvezda shipbuilding complex.Additionally, Rosneft and China’s Shandong Kerui Petroleum Equipment company inked a memorandum of understanding and strategic partnership concerning oil-related services, according to Rosneft’s chief executive Igor Sechin.

Bilateral cooperation on foreign policy and security

China and Russia cooperate closely in terms of foreign policy and security, and have demonstrated a common approach to a wide range of global and regional issues, including counter-terrorism efforts, President Putin said during a reception to mark the 15th anniversary of the  signing of the Treaty on Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation.

“It is this document that legally defined the strategic and partner character of relations between Russia and China, which are based on mutual respect, friendship and the recognition of each other’s interests; these relations not only meet the interests of our peoples, but also serve as an important factor regarding global and regional stability and security,” Putin said.

He added that by “building up the Russian-Chinese partnership, we relied on the centuries-old traditions of relations between our countries.”

“We achieved an unprecedented level of mutual trust and understanding, which allowed us to solve complex and very sensitive issues and which, most importantly, opened opportunities to move forward and bolster multilateral relations in various spheres,” Putin pointed out.

Invitation to visit a G-20 summit

Also on Saturday, the Chinese President invited Vladimir Putin to visit a summit of the Group of Twenty that is due to be held in the Chinese city of Hangzhou in September 2016.

President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin meets with President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping

“We will meet on the sidelines of major international events before the end of the year,” Xi Jinping said after talks with President Putin.”I have already invited President Putin to pay a visit to Hangzhou in early September to take part in the G-20 summit,” he added.

Putin, for his part, said that Russia will provide all necessary support to China during its G-20 presidency.

The G-20 is an international forum for the leaders and senior financial officials of the world’s 20 major economies. The 10th G-20 summit was held in Turkey in November 2015.