Bulgaria holding up Turkstream pipeline, says Putin

Bulgaria is deliberately delaying the implementation of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday. 

Russia, however, can find ways to bypass the Balkan country to push forward with the project, Habertürk news site quoted Putin as saying in Sochi during a press conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

The Turkish Stream pipeline linking Russia and Turkey to Europe via the Black Sea is nearly complete and is expected to go online in early 2020.

The second line of the project, going from Turkey through Bulgaria, then to Serbia, Hungary, and Slovakia, is due for completion later in 2020.

With an annual capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters, TurkStream will deliver half of its gas payload from Russia to Turkey’s western Thrace region, while the rest will continue on to southern Europe. The analysts visited both the starting point at the Russkaya compressor in Russia's Anapa and the receiving terminal across the Black Sea in Turkey's Kıyıköy. 

TurkStream, one of three pipelines running from Russia to Europe, is criticised for making Europe more dependent on Russian gas and boosting Moscow’s influence in Turkey and possibly in the Balkans.

Others see the project as an opportunity for Europe to enhance energy security and for Turkey to move closer to its vision of being an energy hub.