Baku, Azerbaijan, March 4
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
There are serious controversies between Iran and Turkey on the issue of conflict settlement in Syria since the beginning of its escalation nearly five years ago.
Iran actively supports the Syrian government, while Turkey condemns Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime due to bloodshed in the country. But it is a paradox that all these controversies have almost no influence on the economic and energy partnership between Tehran and Ankara.
It is quite remarkable that the relations between the two countries started to improve considerably after 2002 when Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP), led by then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is now the country's president, came to power.
Turkey's late former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan is considered as the initiator of the Iranian-Turkish friendly relations in the political circles of Tehran and Ankara.
Against the background of existing political controversies, mainly due to Syria and the potential of economic partnership, today Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is going to leave for Tehran.
Davutoglu will discuss the main energy issue for Turkey as for now - transit of the Iranian gas via Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) to Europe, which is being built, according to the Turkish media.
The Syrian crisis, increasing Turkey's investments in Iran are also among the important issues on the agenda.
Observers suppose that Turkey and Iran won't be able to reach common ground on the settlement of the Syrian crisis, but, as before, they will agree that the "Islamic State" terrorist organization (IS, aka ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) really poses a threat to the whole world.
When coming to energy issues, the two countries' positions coincide. From the geographical and economic point of view, Turkey's territory is the most expedient route for supplying Iranian gas to Europe.
Previously, Iran said it shows interest in transporting its gas to Europe via TANAP through Turkey and it is a real chance for Ankara which strives for turning into a regional energy hub.
Moreover, earlier, in an exclusive interview with Trend, Saltuk Duzyol, CEO of TANAP consortium, said he sees no obstacles for transportation of Iranian gas via this pipeline.
It will be possible by constructing adjacent infrastructure and signing relevant agreements, according to the TANAP CEO.
Moreover, freezing of the Turkish Stream project, lobbied by Russia, increases the significance of TANAP project, Duzyol added.
Turkey will receive the first volumes of Azerbaijani gas via TANAP in 2018. The pipeline's capacity will be 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year, with the possibility of expanding to 31 billion cubic meters.
Edited by SI
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu