Tazhin: Kazakhstan works to transport oil to Ceyhan
ANKARA. April 6. KAZINFORM. The Turkish and Kazakh foreign ministers have declared their determination to cooperate in the field of energy projects. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, who held a joint press conference with Kazakh Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin in Ankara on Thursday, said the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which now carries Azerbaijani oil to the port of Ceyhan on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, has been in service since last year and added that the construction of another pipeline from Baku-Tblisi to the eastern Turkish city Erzurum to carry natural gas would be completed this year. The foreign minister of Kazakhstan, which has huge oil and gas reserves, said they are working on some infrastructure aspects to be able to transport Kazakh oil to Ceyhan without delay. In response to a question on whether or not Kazakhstan has been looking for alternate routes since there was a delay in carrying oil from Kazakhstan to Ceyhan, Tazhin said the problems were technical, not political. The leaders confirmed their countries' determination to carry on joint projects, noting that trade volume between the two has surpassed USD 1.5 billion. Gul said Turkish businessmen currently have several construction projects in Kazakhstan. Tazhin said, "Kazakhstan sees Turkey as an important partner in the Middle East and Asia," stating that the trade volume between the two countries had increased 60 percent over last year. During a visit to the Georgian capital Tbilisi on Tuesday, Kazakh Transport and Communications Minister Serik Akhmetov had said Kazakhstan would guarantee at least 10 million tons of cargo for a new railway line being built across the Caucasus and into Turkey. Construction is expected to start in June on the USD600 million rail line linking the eastern Turkish city of Kars with the Azerbaijani capital of Baku on the Caspian Sea. It will go through the Georgian town of Akhalkalaki and the capital, Tbilisi. At a ceremony last month to sign the final agreements for setting up the rail line, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan likened it to the Silk Road, the trade caravans that long ago linked Asia with Europe. The railroad is one of several projects to link oil-rich Azerbaijan and Central Asia with Turkey and European markets while bypassing Russia. Meanwhile, Gul reiterated Turkey's support for Kazakhstan's bid for candidacy for term presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Kazinform quotes Today’s Zaman Ankara.