In a surprise move, Turkey and Azerbaijan have postponed signing a package agreement on gas issues that had been touted as a strategic breakthrough on gas shipments to Europe.
Turkish Prime Minister Rejep Tayyip Erdogan announced on May 17 that the two sides had decided to postpone the signing ceremony until June 7 in Istanbul. “On June 7-8, [Azerbaijani President] Ilham Aliyev will visit Istanbul upon my invitation and I think we will sign [the] gas agreement there,” Erdogan said.
Aliyev put the delay down to unspecified technical reasons. “All issues concerning the package gas agreement are solved and only small technical issues remained to be agreed,” state-run AzTV channel reported Aliyev as saying on May 17.
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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance correspondent based in Baku. He is also a board member of the Open Society Institute-Azerbaijan.