Turkey, Azerbaijan hail TANAP Project

President Erdogan says Turkey and Azerbaijan will boost their strategic importance with the natural gas transportation project

President Erdogan says Turkey and Azerbaijan will boost their strategic importance with the natural gas transportation project

ANKARA - Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey and Azerbaijan will boost their strategic importance though the Trans Anatolia Natural Gas Pipeline, or TANAP.

Speaking during the joint press conference with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Alivey on Thursday in Ankara, Erdogan said energy is of great importance between the two countries.

"TANAP grew into a global project and the necessary steps have been taken," Erdogan said. "In providing gas pipelines and in construction, Turkish firms weigh in."

TANAP is projected to transport natural gas from the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz 2 field on the Caspian Sea and other Azerbaijani fields, through Turkey and to Europe.

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline will connect with TANAP on the east side of the Greek-Turkish border to transport natural gas to the Italian network. 

The TANAP project is planned to originate at the Georgia-Turkey border, to pass through Anatolia, and to extend 1,242.7 miles (2,000 kilometers) to reach Greece. It will then connect with the Southern Gas Corridor that will carry natural gas from the Caspian Sea near Azerbaijan to Italy into Europe.

Erdogan also reiterated that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which provides oil transportation by passing Georgia from Baku -- capital of Azerbaijan -- to Turkey, will be launched by the end of 2015. 

Aliyev also underscored in the press conference the importance of the Southern Gas Corridor.

"The Southern Gas Corridor and the development of the Shah-Deniz natural gas field is Europe's biggest infrastructure investment project and worth $45 billion," said Aliyev.

Aliyev added that Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and other countries that will benefit from Southern Gas Corridor, should work together.

- Nagorno-Karabakh issue

Erdogan also highlighted the Nagorno-Karabakh region, over which Armenia and Azerbaijan have an ongoing dispute.

"It appears that the Minsk Group will not take decisive action about the issue," Erdogan said. "It is saddening to see that although there are international resolutions about the issue, there has been an ongoing 'stalling tactic.'"

Azerbaijan and Armenia, two former Soviet republics, fought a war over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region in the 1990s.

In February 1988, the regional parliament in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is largely populated by ethnic Armenians, voted to declare its independence from Azerbaijan.

Turkey has supported Azerbaijan in its struggle against Armenia over the disputed region and aims to find a peaceful solution to the conflict that has been ongoing for 20 years. Efforts have, so far, failed and the two countries remain without diplomatic relations. 

Erdogan also reiterated that Turkey will continue to support its ally Azerbaijan in resolving the issue peacefully within the territory of Azerbaijan.

Touching upon the Nagorno-Karabah issue, Aliyev said "Turkey supports justice in this matter," and added Armenia does not want peace. 

Aliyev also said the Minsk Group failed to solve the problem. 

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Minsk Group was created in 1992 to encourage a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.   

OSCE's Minsk group, co-chaired by Russia, France, and the United States, could not achieve concrete results over the issue despite 20 years of attempts.

Referring to the Minsk Group, Aliyev said "There is activity, but no result."

- Turkey invites Azerbaijan to G20

Erdogan said Azerbaijan will participate as a guest country in the G20 Summit in 2015, which Turkey took over the presidency on Dec. 1, 2014.

The G20, a key multinational group for tackling the world’s economic challenges such as growth and unemployment, is a collection of the globe’s largest economies which account for around 90 percent of global GDP, two-thirds of the world's population and 80 percent of international trade.

The G20 summit will bring together political and economic leaders from 20 major economies, including 19 individual countries – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States – plus the European Union.

"There are no other countries that are connected together like Turkey and Azerbaijan," said Aliyev.

Aliyev also said Turkey's invitation to Azerbaijan for the G20 summit shows how much the two countries are "close to each other."

Stating that Turkey has evolved into a central power in the world, Aliyev said "As long as Turkey is strong, Azerbaijan will be as well."

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