Turkish Factor in the Redistribution of the World's Energy Flows

As a non-EU country, Turkey is not obliged to obey the EU competition law that made the realization of the South Stream project impossible. Accordingly the South Stream project has been redirected by Russia towards Turkey so as to end at the border to Europe.

The redirected pipeline project, renamed Turkish Stream, involves a significant amount of gas featuring the vision of a major gas hub in Turkey to meet European demand. With this development, Turkey gains on strategic importance for Europe’s energy security. Further possible sources to bring alternative resources to the Turkish hub include gas coming from Azerbaijan through the Trans Anatolia Pipeline (which is currently under construction) as well as possible new pipeline projects to bring Middle Eastern gas (Iran, Iraq etc.) to Europe.

As a relatively clean, cheap and reliable source of energy, the demand for natural gas in Europe has been and will be on the rise as projected by various independent sources. Particularly rapid growth can be expected in Eastern European countries as a result of economic development.

The European gas hub in Baumgarten, Austria, can be expected to evolve as a virtual one once the Turkish Stream project is completed. The Turkish gas hub, on the other hand, will serve as a physical trading platform where prices could be determined according to competitive conditions. The Turkish factor in the redistribution of the world's energy flows through a gas hub at the border of the EU is nothing but a win-win-win situation: win for Russia as it does not loose the European market, win for Turkey as it gains on strategic importance with the vision of becoming a physical energy trading hub, and win for Europe as it does not loose the Russian gas supply.

The strict political atmosphere in Europe and mutual lack of confidence between Russia and EU contribute to a new partnership between Russia and Turkey, a country which has been waiting for almost thirty years for EU membership. Combining the two continents of Europe and Asia, Turkey lies on the crossroads of energy flow bridging suppliers with consumers of energy and forming a natural energy hub as an economic option to supply and secure European needs at competitive prices. Accordingly, it can be said that politics and economics jointly shape geopolitics in Eurasia to the benefit of all involved parties.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.