Putin and Erdogan Discussed the Future of “Turkish Stream”

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September 24th, 2015

LifeNews – translated by J. Flores

Laying the pipeline was planned to start this summer and finish – by 2020, but to date the work has been frozen for an indefinite period.

The history of relations between Russia and Turkey go back more than five centuries. During this time there were differences –  bad peace, and good quarrels. But today, the interests of Moscow and Ankara are close as ever. The turning point happened a year ago, in December 2014, Vladimir Putin during his visit to Turkey, after talks with President Recep Erdogan, announced the closure of the project “South Stream”.

The pipeline had to pass under the Black Sea – to Bulgaria, and then – to the countries of South and Central Europe. However, it was actually “derailed” by the connivance of the European Commission in Bulgaria – after the aggravation of relations between Russia and the West. But in the place of the ‘sunken into oblivion’ “South Stream”, came the other – the Turkish.  At the start of this project, it was announced at the same time in Ankara. It was assumed that 4 gas pipeline will be laid in the same way across the Black Sea – but instead to Turkey. The project looked very tempting for Moscow, which is looking for an alternative to unreliable Ukrainian transit, and for Ankara, which could not miss the opportunity to become a gas hub of all region. The beginning was promising. Laying “Turkish Stream” would begin in the summer of 2015, but this past already, and to finish – in 2020, but to date the work has been frozen for an indefinite period.

The start time for construction was delayed for not one but for a whole range of reasons. First, Ankara tried to bargain for themselves as much as possible discount. Russia now provides more than half of Turkey’s gas needs. Deliveries go through the existing gas pipeline “Blue Stream”. For participation in the new project, the Turks count on compensation.

Originally “Gazprom” offered a discount of 6 per cent, the Turks also asked immediately for 15. As a result, the parties agreed to 10 a quarter percent, but then there was a new argument. “Gazprom” wants to throw off the price after the start of construction of the “Turkish Stream”, the Turks also say: in the morning the money – in the evening the chairs. That is, first off pay, and then later build. In addition, Ankara has made no secret that it wants to be not just a transit country for Russian gas, and the re-seller in Europe. For Moscow such an option, of course, is not satisfactory.

In addition, another reason for delay, described by “Gazprom” itself – a political crisis in Turkey. Erdogan’s party lost the parliamentary elections in June and still can not form a government: the opposition is not going to make concessions. So Moscow, in fact, cannot make an agreement with anyone.  Early elections will be held in November. 

Another global conflict between Russia and Turkey – is the Syrian issue. Moscow supports Assad, Turkey – Syrian opposition.

Experts say: “Nobody thought that talks about the “Turkish Stream” will be simple, but at some stage Turkey may realize they want this option but will see the Russians have moved on from it, and then will have to put pressure on Moscow.” But then Ankara will have waiting for them a not too pleasant surprise. On the horizon appeared the project “North Stream – 2”. 

This is the second branch has a valid route to Northern Europe – bypassing Ukraine, through which Russia could increase its gas supplies. The agreement on the project by  “Gazprom” was signed in early September. And Turkey, perhaps, realized that there are some alternatives for Russia.

On the eve of Erdogan’s visit to Moscow, Turkish media wrote that he goes to Russia with the proposals. What those were – we will see.

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