Saturday, May 18, 2024
 
 

Erdogan & Putin’s plan to create a gas hub in Turkey is a purely anti-Western political ploy

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L).

- Advertisement -

Rather than taking a hard line against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed with his Russian counterpart, and sometimes close ally, Vladimir Putin, to form a natural gas hub in Turkey, which the Kremlin said could supply Europe with gas.

If realized, the initiative would be a significant political move by Ankara and Moscow that directly challenges the West and its support for Ukraine, while blatantly helping Putin to circumvent the Western alliance’s sanctions levied against Russia for its unprovoked war against a sovereign state.

Ronald Meinardus, a German foreign policy expert, told NE Global in Athens, ”Politically, this throws light to Erdogan who in the past three months, if I’m not mistaken, has met Putin four separate times and he’s doing many things that I would call ‘sanctions busting’. He’s certainly not agreeing with his Western partners’ sanctions. He’s opening the door for Russia (to have access) to the West and to the global markets (despite the strict sanctions against Moscow) … this is very unfortunate for the Western alliance.”

“What Erdogan seems to suggest is that he has access to Putin. He assumes that the West is interested in this because they want to have some sort of possibility of talking to the Russians,” Meinardus said, adding, “My sense is that the West would want him to be a little more modest and a little more constructive while also helping to isolate Russia economically,  but he’s doing just the opposite.”

Gazprom’s supplies to Europe have drastically decreased ever since Moscow decided to slash its deliveries to Europe after the West mobilized its economic and military power to assist Kyiv in its resistance to Putin’s increasingly brutal invasion of Ukraine and after the Russian-built Nord Stream pipelines were damaged by explosives allegedly planted by Russian saboteurs.

The creation of a gas hub in Turkey was discussed during a face-to-face meeting between Erdogan and Putin in Kazakhstan. The two leaders instructed their energy authorities to begin an immediate technical study for the project, with Erdogan reportedly suggesting locating the hub in Turkey’s northeastern Thrace region, bordering Greece and Bulgaria.

“Who would finance this?” Meinardus asked. “It’s not that the Turks have tons of money, and it’s not a case where the Russians have tons of money. They would first have to do a feasibility study, and I highly doubt that with the potential political ramifications they would find investors to put billions into any project like this,” he added.

Meinardus said the proposal to ship gas to Europe, via Turkey, is unlikely to materialize.

“This is about providing a product to a market. First, you need a seller; then you need a buyer. You have a seller, which is Putin, and you have him possibly cooperating with Erdogan. But you have a prospective market – Europe – which at this point in its history is doing what it can to reduce its dependency on Russian gas and on oil. The idea that this would see the light of day, and that Russian gas would arrive in Europe via Turkey, is very remote and very unrealistic,” said Meinardus.

Most of the countries in Europe are, after 20 years of short-sighted energy security policy, looking to decrease their reliance on the Russian Federation, particularly after Moscow repeatedly used energy as a weapon to browbeat the European Union’s institutions into giving in to the Kremlin’s demands.

Geoffrey Pyatt, the State Department’s new Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Energy Resources, said during his October visit to Istanbul, Bucharest and Sofia that he discussed joint efforts on European energy security with his Turkish, Romanian and Bulgarian counterparts.

Pyatt said the Americans’ are fully committed to bolstering European energy security and pledged to work with US partners to improve the region’s energy interconnectedness in order to avoid having the Europeans become dependent on a single anti-Western country for trade and development.

“Russia has time and again proven that it will not be a reliable supplier of energy so long as it continues to weaponize its energy resources as an instrument of war,” Pyatt said.

- Advertisement -

Subscribe to our newsletter

Co-founder / Director of Energy & Climate Policy and Security at NE Global Media

Latest

Tackling new threats to critical energy infrastructure

The explosions that targeted the Nord Stream pipelines from...

Georgia’s “Foreign Representatives Law” moves forward amid protests

On May 14, Georgia’s parliament approved (84/150) a hotly...

North Macedonia: Sliding back towards the political dark side?

As most analysts predicted after the strong showing of...

A Green 5+1, regional water issues in Central Asia and previewing next year’s Astana International Forum

Kazakhstan’s Astana International Forum (AIF) has been postponed to 2025, as Astana...

Don't miss

Tackling new threats to critical energy infrastructure

The explosions that targeted the Nord Stream pipelines from...

Georgia’s “Foreign Representatives Law” moves forward amid protests

On May 14, Georgia’s parliament approved (84/150) a hotly...

North Macedonia: Sliding back towards the political dark side?

As most analysts predicted after the strong showing of...

A Green 5+1, regional water issues in Central Asia and previewing next year’s Astana International Forum

Kazakhstan’s Astana International Forum (AIF) has been postponed to 2025, as Astana...

Navigating the climate challenges for COP29

The impacts of climate change have become more evident...

Tackling new threats to critical energy infrastructure

The explosions that targeted the Nord Stream pipelines from Russia to Germany in September 2022 and the suspected sabotage of Baltic-connector pipeline, which supplies...

Georgia’s “Foreign Representatives Law” moves forward amid protests

On May 14, Georgia’s parliament approved (84/150) a hotly contested law on “Transparency of Foreign Interests” regulating the amount of aid local civil society...

North Macedonia: Sliding back towards the political dark side?

As most analysts predicted after the strong showing of the nationalist presidential candidate in the first-round presidential elections on April 24, VMRO-DPMNE (Internal Macedonian...

A Green 5+1, regional water issues in Central Asia and previewing next year’s Astana International Forum

Kazakhstan’s Astana International Forum (AIF) has been postponed to 2025, as Astana is diverting financial resources to assist the relief efforts after massive flooding hit several regions....

Navigating the climate challenges for COP29

The impacts of climate change have become more evident as greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from human activities cause increased heat, drought, floods etc. Changes...

Uzbekistan to mobilize investment in environmental protection, sustainable development

NE Global sat down for an interview, in the Uzbek capital, during the 3rd Tashkent International Investment Forum (TIIF) with Aziz Abdukhakimov, Uzbekistan's Minister of Ecology,...

New wave of U.S. sanctions target Russia’s foreign suppliers and industrial base

On May 1, the U.S. Department of State together with the U.S. Treasury Department unveiled a wide-ranging new list of anti-Russia sanctions covering an...

EU sharply reduces visa access for Ethiopians

 Citing the lack of Ethiopian cooperation to facilitate repatriation of citizens deported from EU member states, the EU Council announced on April 29 a...