Search This Blog

Monday, October 17, 2016

Turkey, Russia, and the European Diplomatic Chessboard

No doubt, Monday, October 10, 2016, will become a key date in Turkey’s diplomatic history. On that day, the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, signed an agreement on the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, which will bring Russian gas to Turkey and onward to the EU. In short, the deal represents a tactical advantage to Turkey and a new strategic position for Russia, which will keep dominating gas supplies to the EU.
As is natural, the pro-government media in Turkey are waxing lyrical about the agreement, with one headline saying, “The heart of energy beats in Istanbul.” Signing the deal is not only presented as an achievement for Turkey in the energy field but is also a welcome diplomatic comeback at a time when the country is still reeling from the July 15 attempted coup and suffering from tense relations with its Western partners. Fixing the Turkish-Russian relationship—at least in one sector—brings an end to the November 2015 military incident, in which a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian bomber aircraft, and illustrates the relaunching of bilateral cooperation with a large joint project. Russian state-controlled energy company Gazprom will also negotiate an unspecified discount on gas prices with its Turkish counterpart.

No comments: