Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan opened on Tuesday a new natural gas pipeline running from Azerbaijan to the south of Europe via Anadolu, thus reducing the European dependence on Russian gas supply.
“Trans Anadolu pipeline” (TANAP) with an estimated cost of 8.5 billion dollars is one of the central infrastructural installations Erdoğan opens ahead of an early election scheduled for June 24.
The presidents of Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Serbia, Ilham Aliyev, Petro Poroshenko and Aleksandar Vucic respectively, joined Erdoğan at the opening ceremony in the town of Eskişehir in central Turkey.
Vucic said his presence at the opening ceremony in Turkey was proof of good relations between the two countries.
"We admire President Erdoğan for doing some things for his nation and his country. Under your leadership Turkey will have good relations not only with Azerbaijan but with Serbia as well," Vucic told the gathering.
The leader of self-declared and internationally unrecognised “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC) Mustafa Akıncı was also present.
TANAP is the newest part of our vision, and at the same time it gives a hint of our future projects,“ Erdoğan said.
He and the guests placed the last part of the pipe and then started the wheel of the valve to let the gas running.
TANAP is 1,850 kilometres long and is linked to Caucasus-south (SCP) pipeline, and at the other end, it will connect to Trans-Adriatic pipeline (TAP) which runs through Greece and Albania to Italy.
The pipeline will eventually transport about 10 billion cubic meters of gas to the European south, and six billion to Turkey.
The first shipments are expected in 2020.
Put together SCP, TANAP and TAP form “The South gas corridor”, a mega project worth 40 billion dollars. It reduces the European dependence on the Russian gas amid tensions with Moscow in the last several years.