Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Istanbul.
Their meeting came ahead of the launch ceremony of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project in the city, which the two leaders are set to attend.
The closed-door meeting was held at Istanbul Halic Congress Center and lasted for nearly an hour-and-a-half.
At the meeting, Erdogan presented a book to Putin called Strategic Step on the Eastern Mediterranean Equation: The Turkey-Libya Deal.
Prepared by Turkey’s Communication Directorate in both Turkish and English, the book relates Turkey’s stance on the Eastern Mediterranean as well as the geopolitical importance of the Eastern Mediterranean and hydrocarbon potential in the region.
Also expected to attend the TurkStream ceremony are Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.
Turkish-Russian energy cooperation
Security measures are high in the city, as a total of 7,200 police officers are on duty for the inauguration ceremony.
Among security forces are 300 special operations teams and 30 bomb squad specialists working around hotels where foreign leaders are staying or along the routes they will travel before and during the event.
Also, three police helicopters, four marine boats, four specially trained dogs, and 30 armored vehicles are supporting Turkish security forces.
Following the ceremony, Erdogan is later to host the leaders of Russia, Serbia, and Bulgaria at a dinner.
The TurkStream natural gas pipeline project, which will carry natural gas from Russia to Europe via Turkey, is considered a further step in Turkish-Russian energy cooperation.
The pipeline has a total capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters, out of which the first line will carry 15.75 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Turkish consumers.
The second line will carry another 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe via Turkey.
BOTAS built the first line that will connect to Turkey’s existing gas grid, while the second, to be operated by a Gazprom-BOTAS joint venture, will stretch to the Turkish-European border in Turkey’s Thrace region.