Putin: Turkey to become energy transit center

AA- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Turkey will become an energy transit center. "Since the South Stream Crude Oil Pipeline will pass through the economic zone of Turkey, Turkey will become an energy transit center throughout Europe", Putin said at a press conference jointly held with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Turkish capital of Ankara. Putin emphasized that Turkey and Russia agreed on many issues; however talks on nuclear power plant unit price and construction costs continued. The Russian prime minister addressed important topics between the two countries such as energy, particularly the South Stream Crude Oil Pipeline, Blue Stream II (natural gas pipeline) and the construction of nuclear power plants in Turkey. Putin underlined the importance of the South Stream project for energy security in Europe and the region. The Russian Prime Minister stated that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was also in Ankara, saying, "We have agreed on giant partnership projects." As regards economic relations, Putin said the bilateral trade volume reached USD 40 billion in 2008 and that Russia is Turkey's number one trade partner, while Turkey is Russia's number five trade partner. Putin stressed that the two countries also discussed simplifying customs regimes and agreed to open two additional green corridors, including a land and sea corridor. The two countries also agreed to increase the Turkish products exported to Russia, he said.