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19 June, 2024
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Putin and Erdogan's plan for turning Turkey into an ''Energy Hub'' stalls

Russia-Turkey gas conduit faces obstacles


A joint endeavor between Putin and Erdogan to transform Turkey into a crucial conduit for Russian gas to Europe appears to have hit a roadblock, according to sources cited by Reuters. The plan, which aimed to replace Russian gas flows through Germany, has been hindered by disagreements between Moscow and Ankara over who would have primary control over the proposed energy grid.

Unnamed sources familiar with the matter have highlighted the challenges in administration as a key point of contention. Both sides assert their right to the leading role in managing this ambitious project. This view was corroborated by a second source closely associated with the Russian energy giant Gazprom.

The concept of the "Turkish hub" was initially proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in October 2022. Putin put forth this idea in response to explosions that severely damaged the Nord Stream pipelines, which previously transported Russian gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea. These acts of sabotage, occurring on September 26 of the same year, caused international outrage. While three separate investigations were launched by Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, none publicly assigned blame to any party. Russia, initially pointing fingers at Britain and later the U.S., called for an independent international investigation through the U.N. Security Council. However, this proposal encountered opposition from the U.S. and its allies.

For Moscow, the "Turkish hub" represents an alternative route for exporting gas to Europe, especially given the decline in gas exports after the invasion of Ukraine. Concerns have arisen among American officials that if Putin's plan comes to fruition, it would enable Russians to circumvent sanctions by blending their natural gas with fuel from other nations via Turkey. President Tayyip Erdogan has expressed his intention to link the "Turkish hub" to the Azerbaijan Gas Pipeline (TANAP).

Currently, Russian gas is transported to Europe either through Ukraine or Turkey. Last month, Russia supplied 2.85 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe, with 1.54 billion passing through the Turkish TurkStream pipeline to Southern and Eastern European countries such as Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania, and Hungary, while 1.3 billion went through Ukraine.

In February, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov hinted at the complexities of implementing the plan, noting that it was a multifaceted project requiring time and also mentioning the potential seismic risks. A recent meeting between Putin and Erdogan on September 4 in Sochi on the Black Sea discussed the project's status. Following the meeting, Putin announced that Gazprom had developed a roadmap for the "Turkish hub" and had handed it over to Turkish Botas. However, significant disagreements still persist.

Cyprus  |  Russia  |  Ukraine  |  Turkey

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