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Turkey and Russia signed an agreement on Monday for the construction of a major undersea gas pipeline and vowed to seek common ground on the war in Syria, accelerating a normalization in ties nearly a year after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan hosted Russia's Vladimir Putin at an Ottoman-era villa in Istanbul for talks which touched on energy deals, trade and tourism ties, defense and the conflict in Syria, where the two leaders back opposing sides.
Russia has backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with a year-long air campaign against the rebels fighting him. Turkey backs the rebels and wants to see Assad out of power.
Our common task is to ensure that all people in the world have access to modern energy sources. I would like to remind you that there are still two billion people in the world who do not have such access. We must remove the energy barriers on the road to universal economic growth and development. We must ensure that people in even the poorest countries have access to the basic blessings of civilisation such as electricity, light and heating. We cannot ignore that the situation on global energy markets, especially on the hydrocarbons market, has undergone serious change over recent years. Oil prices fell by more than half and some even said that the hydrocarbon era was heading for decline and that we should shift the focus entirely to alternative energy sources now. I think that there are no real grounds for such far-reaching conclusions yet, not for now at least.