Russian-Turkish plans for European energy supply

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Moscow and Ankara are planning to make Turkey a new energy hub – with the target market being Europe. This runs counter to the political interests of the West, because the EU wants to become independent of Russian gas. But Putin hopes that the Europeans will give in at some point.

The longer the war in Ukraine lasts, the closer relations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan will become. The two have met in person four times since the outbreak of war.

Turkey has doubled its oil imports from Russia. Russian tourists, businessmen and men fleeing mobilization are pouring into Turkey — and are now also topping the list of foreign homebuyers. In the summer, the Russian company Rosatom invested five billion euros in the construction of a nuclear power plant in Turkey.

And the pattern continues. If Putin and Erdogan have their way, Turkey should become the new hub for Russian gas – and would thus partly replace Germany. In a meeting with Erdogan at the end of last month, the Russian president suggested exporting more gas through the “TurkStream” pipeline. It runs from Russia through the Black Sea to Turkey. This gas could then continue to flow to Europe. For this, the Russian-Turkish gas pipeline would have to be expanded.

Turkey as a hub for energy – that is a long-cherished dream of the Erdogan government, since this would strategically upgrade the country. The Turkish President immediately announced the construction of such a hub, his country and Russia would first make preparations together, after which action would be taken, Erdogan said.

“There is no delay here. We immediately communicated this decision to our Minister of Energy and Natural Resources today,” Erdogan said. Gazprom boss Alexei Miller is also involved in the project. The western Turkish region of Thrace, which borders on Greece and Bulgaria, is an option for a distribution center.

Turkey’s geographic location predestines it as a transit country for energy. Gas flows from Azerbaijan and Iran via one pipeline each, and two other pipelines – TurkStream and BlueStream – transport gas from Russia through the Black Sea to Turkey. The country is already central to the European plan to transport more gas from Azerbaijan via Turkey and Greece through the so-called southern gas corridor.

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