With Russia allied with Syria in the Pipelinestan Gas Wars, the TurkStream gas pipeline – from Russia to Europe via Turkey is looking iffy – the deal died when the Turks shot down a Russian bomber, to help their proxies in Syria – ISIS – Turkey’s clandestine oil-trading partners.
A number of major bilateral trade and infrastructure deals between Turkey and Russia that could be affected by the incident, including the proposed construction of a gas pipeline between the two countries, as well as the Akkuyu nuclear power plant.
Russia’s economy minister singled out the TurkStream gas project on Thursday, as he discussed plans to halt preparations for a free trade zone with Turkey, Reuters reported.
As one of Russia’s largest customers when it comes to energy — Turkey imports 55 percent of its natural gas from Russia and 30 percent of its oil – any damage to these infrastructure deals could be significant, according to one Turkish academic.
“Turkey has close strategic ties with Russia in terms of energy relationship with Russia, so it may be that the Turkish Stream project as well as the nuclear energy project – which is going to be constructed by the Russians — could be affected,” Professor Gurkan Kumbaroglu from Bogazici University’s department of engineering, told CNBC Thursday.
“Now all these projects are uncertain because of this incident,” he added. Although Kumbaroglu did not believe gas supplies would be affected in the short-term, he feared for the longer-term projects: “In the longer term those strategic projects may be affected and these projects are actually to the benefit of both countries.”
He urged the leaders of Turkey and Russia, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Vladimir Putin, to “stay calm and consider the benefits of the cooperation of the two countries.”
Russia is one of Europe’s largest gas provider and whenever a diplomatic spat occurs between it and its western neighbors, you can bet that Russia will attempt to use its energy (and specifically, its gas) supply, as leverage.
It has done so with Europe before, threatening to cut gas supplies to the region, and more recently with its neighbor Ukraine, with whom it is engaged in a bitter regional conflict.