Presidents Haidar Aliev of Azerbaijan, Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia and Suleyman Demirel of Turkey held a one-day summit yesterday in the Turkish Black Sea port Trabzon. The closed-door discussions focused on the export of the “main” Azerbaijani oil via Georgia and Turkey to international markets. The three presidents reaffirmed their strong support for the Baku-Supsa-Ceyhan pipeline project. They also endorsed the more recent idea of laying trans-Caspian pipelines, which would carry Kazakh and Turkmen oil and gas to Baku for further transport to Ceyhan. In that context, the presidents reaffirmed their commitment to the ecological security of the Black Sea and the Turkish Straits. This is a powerful indirect argument against diverting Caspian oil to Russian Black Sea ports, whence the oil would have to be shipped by tankers through the overcrowded Straits.
On the same day, Aliev, Shevardnadze and Demirel attended the inauguration of construction at Turkey’s Corohi River hydropower project, near the Turkish-Georgian border. The $700 million dam project is one of Asia’s largest. Part of its electricity output will be channeled into a planned Turkish-Georgian-Azerbaijani joint power system. In an April 20 address to the country, Shevardnadze laid to rest most of the objections raised by Georgian environmentalists against the project. (International agencies, April 27; Radio Tbilisi, April 20).
U.S.-TURKMEN UNDERSTANDINGS ON ENERGY AND SECURITY.