The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) is a vital project for both Turkey and Azerbaijan, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a joint news conference with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, Erdogan -- fresh off his inauguration as Turkey’s first executive president -- said: "TANAP is a vital project for both us and Azerbaijan”.
TANAP, which went live in June, is a natural gas pipeline stretching from the Turkish-Georgian border to the Turkish-Greek border to supply natural gas to both Turkey and also European countries.
The 1,850-kilometer pipeline is the largest section of the 3,500-kilometer Southern Gas Corridor, which was inaugurated on May 29 in Baku.
Erdogan said the project has great importance in terms of making a connection between Azerbaijan and Europe, besides the connection between Turkey and Azerbaijan.
“It also carries importance in that it is a strategic investment,” Erdogan said.
The president emphasized that Turkish-Azeri relations are strengthened on the basis of “one nation, two states,” referring to the Turkic roots of both.
Erdogan’s trip to Azerbaijan is his first state visit since Monday’s inauguration to a second term, under Turkey’s new presidential system of government, continuing the tradition of Turkey’s leaders first visiting Azerbaijan and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) after taking office.
Turkey officially switched to a new presidential system of government after Erdogan on Monday took the presidential oath of office to become the Republic of Turkey's first president under its new government system.
His re-election in the June 24 polls marked Turkey's transition to an executive presidential system of government, doing away with the prime minister's post, among other changes.
Erdogan won an absolute majority in the presidential election with 52.5 percent of the vote, according to Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK).