ISTANBUL (Jerusalem Post) — Turkey aims to be an energy center, Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez said on Monday, November 19. His comments came as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin in Istanbul to celebrate the TurkStream pipeline. The pipeline from Russia is part of Turkey’s larger ambitions to become a natural gas trading hub and position itself, along with Russia, as among the strongest countries in the region.
Putin thanked Erdogan for showing “political will and courage.” Putin claimed that, “projects of this kind and this project in particular are not aimed against the interests of anyone.” However, Turkey warned energy companies on Sunday against dealing with the Greek Cypriot government in pursuing drilling opportunities in the eastern Mediterranean, claiming it would “damage regional stability.” This illustrates that Turkish and Russia may have differing views of the natural gas sector as a strategic regional agenda.
Gazprom completed the construction of a section of the TurkStream project ahead of schedule, according to Putin’s comments. It began work on a pipeline in the spring of 2017 and laid the line across 930 kilometers the Black Sea to Turkey. It is expected to stretch toward southern Europe, to enable trading with Greece, Italy, Hungary and Serbia.
Turkey is already a major recipient of Russian natural gas and is also the fourth largest natural gas consumer in Europe. Ankara says that the pipelines from Russia will bring 32 billion cubic meters of gas flow annually, of which half will be used in Turkey and the rest in other areas of the region.