Turkish Stream to be launched after 2017 – envoy

Turkish Ambassador to Russia Ümit Yardım (A still from a YouTube video)
The launch of the Turkish Stream can be expected no earlier than 2017, according to the Turkish Ambassador to Russia. Gazprom previously estimated that gas supplies to Turkey via the pipeline would start in December 2016.

The binding agreement on the construction has not yet been signed between Moscow and Ankara, and the pipeline is expected to run only after 2017, ambassador Ümit Yardım said in an interview with Interfax.

“It would be incorrect to say that the pipeline will be launched specifically 2016 or 2017,”
the ambassador said, adding that Turkey and Russia “have not yet reached the stage of the project’s beginning.”

READ MORE: Gazprom, Ankara agree to start Turkish Stream gas deliveries in Dec 2016

Yardım, however, added he believes that if the parties succeed in implementing the project, “this would be a great victory for both Turkey and Russia.” Moscow and Ankara continue discussing the matter, he said.

Previously, Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller said that gas supplies to Turkey via the Turkish Stream would begin in December 2016. The agreement on placing the pipeline in commission and beginning of gas supplies was reached at a meeting between Miller and the Turkish Energy minister.

Turkish Stream has become an alternative to the South Stream project. In early December 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the suspension of the South Stream because of the EU opposition, and said that Russia instead plans to build a gas pipeline via the Black Sea to Turkey.