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Erdogan opens new pipeline to pump Azerbaijan gas to Europe

AFP  |  Istanbul 

Turkish Recep Erdogan today opened a new that will pump Caspian gas from energy-rich across Anatolia to for the first time.

The USD 8.5 billion (TANAP) is one of several mega projects being showcased by Erdogan as he heads to keenly-fought elections on June 24.

The connects with the which from the vast Azerbaijani 2 field in the Caspian, via and Georgia, to

The pipeline is then to link to the west with the (TAP) which will pump the gas through and to

Taken together, the entire project is known as the Southern Gas Corridor which is costing some USD 40 billion to build and was inaugurated in late May.

The system -- backed by the EU and -- will allow for the first time to pump its gas direct to while bypassing

Erdogan inaugurated the pipeline at a ceremony attended by leaders including Azerbaijan's Ilham Aliyev, Ukrainian and Serbian President in the Turkish region of Eskisehir southeast of Istanbul, one of 20 provinces in the pipeline passes through.

"TANAP is the latest fruit of a shared vision," Erdogan said at the opening ceremony, describing the pipeline as part of a new "Silk Road".

The leaders then watched as the final section of the pipeline was lifted into place and then turned a wheel to allow the gas to flow.

The Turkish leader is battling a tightly fought contest for presidential and parliamentary elections, boasting at rallies nationwide of his ability to deliver on big projects.

During Erdogan's over 15 years in power, first as premier and then as president, has seen a massive revamp of infrastructure with new high speed rail lines, roads and the Bosphorus in spanned by one new bridge and two undersea tunnels.

He is touting a daring new plan to build a Panama-style shipping canal in as boasting that a brand new airport for the city is near complete.

The 1,850 kilometre TANAP will initially pump 2 billion cubic metres of gas annually for use in Turkey, rising to 6 billion. By 2019 another 10 billion cubic metres of gas will be delivered into for use in

A majority 58 per cent in the TANAP project is owned by Azerbaijan through firm Turkish firm and giant have minority stakes of 30 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

But rights activists have slammed the Southern Gas Corridor projects, saying its Western backers are turning a blind eye to rights violations in Azerbaijan under the rule of Aliyev.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, June 13 2018. 01:35 IST