The Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced during a visit to Turkey that Moscow is dropping the proposed South Stream gas pipeline project because of opposition from the European Union.
Alongside his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Putin cited the EU Commission’s reluctance to give the go-ahead to plans to supply southern Europe with gas via Bulgaria.
“Europe will not get those gas volumes, at least from Russia. We consider that it doesn’t suit Europe’s economic interests and that it damages our cooperation. But that’s Our European friends’ choice. They are consumers after all,” the Russian president said.
Moscow had previously accused Brussels of seeking to halt South Stream, funded by Russian state giant Gazprom, because of political differences over Ukraine.
Turkey’s president sought assurances from Putin over the Muslim Tatar population in Crimea, annexed by Russia, with whom Turkey has strong links.
“We discussed (the situation of) the Tatars in Crimea in great detail. About this issue, Putin has said that his approach is positive and he is offering and willing to offer maximum rights to Crimean Tatars that they never had before,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
Putin said that Russia, Turkey’s main energy supplier, would reduce the price of gas to the country by six percent, starting from next year.
The two nations signed a series of other commercial deals, showing a willingness to develop economic ties still further despite profound disagreements in foreign policy over Syria and Ukraine.