Speaking at the inauguration of TurkStream, President Erdoğan said: “We aim to make our country a global energy hub. As Turkey, we have never sought regional tension. The sole purpose of our hydrocarbon exploration efforts in the Eastern Mediterranean is to protect the interests of our country and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered a speech at the inauguration of TurkStream at Haliç Congress Center in Istanbul.
“No project which excludes Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean has a chance to be put into effect”
“We aim to make our country a global energy hub,” President Erdoğan stated, adding: “As Turkey, we have never sought regional tension. The sole purpose of our hydrocarbon exploration efforts in the Eastern Mediterranean is to protect the interests of our country and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. As we always say, no project which excludes Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean has a chance to be put into effect economically, legally and diplomatically. Surely, Turkey, which has the longest coastline in the Mediterranean, has a say in all kinds of projects about this region.”
“We stand ready for all kinds of cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and justice”
Reiterating his call to all littoral countries for cooperation, President Erdoğan stressed: “Let’s turn the Mediterranean, the cradle of civilizations throughout history, into an area of cooperation as opposed to conflict. We are prepared to amply reciprocate every positive step. We stand ready for all kinds of cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and justice. Turkey's vision for cooperation is embodied by TANAP, which carries Azerbaijani natural gas to Europe, and TurkStream, which transports Russian natural gas to Europe and we are proud to inaugurate today. We expect our interlocutors not to turn down this sincere hand of cooperation.”
Drawing attention to the recent tensions between the U.S. and Iran, President Erdoğan went on to say: “As Turkey, we do not want Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, or the Gulf region, where more than 30% of maritime energy trade takes place, to become battlegrounds for wars of tutelage.”
Further stressing that Iraq faces the jeopardy of losing its already-troubled stability, President Erdoğan continued: “The security of our Iraqi Turkmen brothers and sisters is also as important to us as the security of our own citizens. The entire Iraqi people, be it Arab, Kurd, Turkmen, Shiite or Sunni, are our brothers and sisters. As Turkey, we have highlighted on various occasions our sensitivity on this issue.”
Also attending the ceremony were President Vladimir Putin of Russia, President Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia and Prime Minister Boyko Borisov of Bulgaria.