Medvedev-Erdogan talks to focus on gas, oil, nuclear projects

Gas pipelines and a project to build the first nuclear power plant in Turkey, will dominate talks between the Russian president and the visiting Turkish premier on Wednesday, the Kremlin said.

"Major projects like the South Stream and Blue Stream [natural gas] pipelines and the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant are on the agenda of the talks" between Dmitry Medvedev and Tayyip Erdogan, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

Turkey, which seeks to strengthen its position as a transit hub for oil and gas, issued its approval last August for Russia's Gazprom to use its sector of the Black Sea for the $11 billion South Stream pipeline to pump Russian and Central Asian gas to Europe bypassing Ukraine.

In July, it signed a deal on the EU-backed rival pipeline Nabucco.

> Nabucco Pipeline Map
Russia and Turkey also plan to build the second leg of the Blue Stream pipeline, linking the two countries via the Black Sea, to export Russian gas to Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus via Turkey.

Turkish media said earlier the talks in Moscow will also focus on the $1.5 billion Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline to bring Caspian oil to the Mediterranean via Turkey. Three Russian oil producers joined the Turkish-Italian project in October.

Turkey's plans in the nuclear power sector will also be discussed, after its Electricity Trade Corp canceled a tender for the construction of its first nuclear power plant late last year. Turkey plans to announce a new tender for three nuclear power plants later this year.

Russia's Atomstroyexport, power producer Inter RAO UES, and Turkey's Park Teknik had sought to build four nuclear reactors with a capacity of 1,200 MW each.

The Kremlin said Turkey is one of Russia's key trade partners, with bilateral trade hitting an all-time high of $33.8 billion in 2008.

It added that Medvedev and Erdogan will also discuss a "wide range of international issues," including a new European security system and the situation in the former Soviet states in the South Caucasus.

Turkey has upset its close ally Azerbaijan by agreeing to open diplomatic relations with Armenia. The two bitter rivals have been locked in a dispute over Nagorny Karabakh since before the breakup of the Soviet Union. Russia has been driving efforts to reach a settlement in the conflict over the ethnic-Armenian region in Azerbaijan, which has been de facto independent since the 1990s.
RIA Novosti