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Russia And Turkey Inch Towards Full Restoration Of Economic Relations

Military cooperation in the war against the Islamic State and the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline project is cooling tensions between Russia and Turkey, according to a new report by Sputnik.

On Monday, Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke over the phone regarding the complete restoration of political and economic ties, which have been pressured since last year, when Moscow enacted an embargo against Turkish food products as a political response to the downing of a Russian fighter jet in Syria in 2015. In March, Turkish authorities cancelled licenses held by Russian companies to export grain and vegetable oil to retort.

"Separate issues of the bilateral cooperation have been discussed. [The presidents] particularly pointed out the successful work on full restoration of the Russian-Turkish trade and economic ties as well as the implementation of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project," a statement from the Kremlin said.

Russian energy giant Gazprom began construction on the Black Sea portion of the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline last month, according to CEO Alexei Miller.

"We have finished all preparatory and mobilization works [on the Turkish Stream project]. I report to you that we are ready to start the construction of the sea stretch of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline in a few days," Miller said following a meeting with Putin. Russia and Turkey signed the initial agreement authorizing the pipeline last October.

Related: Aramco Aims To Take Over The Offshore Rig Market

Putin and Erdogan also met in person in May to coordinate an ease in tensions, but Russia insists on keeping a tomato ban in place, as well as continuing the revocation of visa-free travel for Turks.

Gazprom’s strategy has been to double down on Europe to secure its future market share by launching Nord Stream II and Turkish Stream, both of which will make gas deliveries to Greece, the United Kingdom, and other customers on the continent increasingly streamlined.

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By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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