The 930 km pipeline across the bottom of the Black Sea became operational on Wednesday, with the two leaders attending a special opening ceremony. Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissovalso participated in the event, as the leaders symbolically launched the project from the stage.
"The supply of Russian gas through TurkStream will undoubtedly be of great importance not only for the economy of Turkey and the Black Sea region, but will also have a positive impact on the development of many South European countries, and will contribute to improving the energy security of Europe in general," Putin said. He also thanked his Turkish counterpart for the "political will" that was necessary to implement such a massive initiative.
As Russia remains the main gas supplier for Turkey, the countries will implement new joint energy projects, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Wednesday. Russia is also involved in another massive energy project in Turkey, Akkuyu nuclear power plant (NPP), which is set to become operational later this year.
In his remarks at the inauguration ceremony, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that the launch of one of "largest construction projects in modern history" marks a "historic day" for the world energy development as a whole.
TurkStream is the "Silk road of the energy world" and a big step forward for Turkey, as well as a cornerstone of the relations between the two nations, Turkish energy minister Fatih Donmez told the audience.
The TurkStream natural gas pipeline was created as an alternative to the South Stream pipeline after Bulgaria ditched the project in 2014, under pressure from the US. The two-string TurkStream boasts the total capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters, with one line supplying Turkey and the other transferring the blue fuel to southern and southeastern Europe.--RT