Turkish Stream talks set to resume after general elections

Turkish Energy Minister Ali Riza Alaboyun

Turkish Energy Minister Ali Riza Alaboyun

Negotiations around the Turkish Stream pipeline linking Russia’s gas fields to Europe will resume after Turkey’s general elections on November 1, Energy Minister Ali Riza Alaboyun told a press conference at a meeting of G20 Energy Ministers in Istanbul yesterday. There was probably enough common ground between the two sides to make it worth their while to return to the negotiating table, he said, an indication that Istanbul may see a way of settling the issue of price which led the talks to be abandoned in the summer.
The word from Moscow would appear to add credence to Alaboyun’s remarks after the Russian Energy Minister said last week that his government would wait until after the elections before granting licenses for the construction of the first two of the project’s four pipelines. 
The Turkish government cannot sign a binding agreement until after the elections which were called after the ruling AKP party lost its parliamentary majority in June. The AKP has subsequently failed to form a coalition with the CHP opposition party, prompting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to call for a snap elections. 
With the capacity to transport 62 bn m³ of gas each year, Turkish Stream is Russia’s proposed alternative to the South Stream pipeline which was due to run under the Black Sea into Bulgaria, but which it abandoned after the EU insisted on third-party access.