ISTANBUL         -         The Turkish and Russian presidents were in Istanbul on Wednesday to inaugurate the dual natural gas line connecting their countries that opens up a new export path for Russian gas into Turkey and Europe. Turkish President RecepTayyipErdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are also expected to discuss Syria and Libya, where the two leaders support opposing sides, and deteriorating security in the Mideast, with U.S.-Iranian tensions high since the American killing of a top Iranian commander. With TurkStream, Russian gas passes through the Black Sea to Turkey. Together, the two 930-kilometer (578-mile) lines under the Black Sea, along with the Russian and Turkish onshore pipes, have the capacity to carry 31.5 billion cubic meters (1.1 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas annually. Russia is the top gas supplier to Turkey, which relies on imports for its energy needs, transporting gas through another pipeline under the Black Sea called Blue Stream and the onshore West Line through Ukraine. Relations remain tense between Moscow and Kyiv amid years of conflict and TurkStream now allows Russia to bypass Ukraine by opening up a second direct transport line to Turkey.