Category Archives: Turkey

Our TRT/Istanbul: Will Turkey be Russia’s new gas hub to Europe? Can Putin save his gas sector? What’s Erdogan’s game?

We began at timestamp 1:00 minute, after TRT’s lead-in story.

With guests:

  • Dr. Thomas O’Donnell: Energy Analyst, in Berlin
  • Eser Özdil of Glocal Group Consulting; and Former President of The Turkish Petroleum and Natural Gas Platform Association. He is also an external fellow of the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC.

and Host Ayse Suberker of TRT TV’s Straight Talk from Istanbul.

We analyzed what Putin aims to achieve, and why President Erdogan of Turkey has so rapidly accepted this proposal. This is obviously, I said, a scheme by Putin to try to save his natural gas business to Europe.

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Al Ghad/Cairo: Putin tempts Erdogan, “Take Nord Stream gas at a Turkish hub. Sell EU my gas. Forget NATO.” Putin’s ‘Gas Godfather’ games become pathetic.

English: Audio above || Arabic: Video below

Is this even a real proposal? Nowadays, after becoming so unreliable a supplier of gas to Europe, in fact having weaponized Russian gas deliveries, it is difficult for anyone to take this proposal seriously. Erdogan may have many significant problems; however he and Turkey are not so naieve as to do what Germany and Austria forced the European Union to do, i.e., become overdependent on Russian gas, especially given the deep energy crisis Europe is currently going through.

But, also consider this (as I explained towards the end): This proposal of sending Nord Stream gas, originating in Northern Urengoy province, above the Artic Circle, would also require a big, new pipeline laying project, running at least from perhaps near the Ukrainian border south towards the Black Sea and then onto Turkey. This would have a significant cost. And, by the time this could be finished – in perhaps five or more years – the world will have moved on. By that time, new LNG and natural gas production potential in the USA, Qatar, Australia, Algeria, Norway, Israel (sent to Egypt for liquification) and likely many others’, will have been developed and be on the global market. On this time horizon, there would be plenty of diverse sources of gas fully able to replace Russian export capacities.

I also explained the history of the South Stream Pipeline …

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My Wikistrat Analysis: Erdogan reminded of Turkey’s dependence on NATO/USA by Biden’s recognition of Armenia genocide

Biden reminds Erdogan of how contingent his geostrategic gains are on the US & NATO with recognition of Armenian Genocide. (See “Turkey” section of the report). Aside from obvious historical and justice reasons for Biden’s recognition, the Turkish role in the Azerbaijan-Armenia war is relevant here. From the report:

On the political and diplomatic side, the genocide recognition’s impact is mainly via engendering consternation vs the US and Nato, especially in inflicting a loss of face on Erdogan.  However, the geopolitical impacts are still more concrete. Erdogan won a significant success for Turkish influence in the Caucuses with the Turkish demonstration of its military capacities via Azerbaijan’s agile use of Turkish drones, in particular the impressive swarming tactics learned from the Turks (in turn clearly derived by Turkey from NATO allies via joint exercises, etc. ). So, NATO was de facto valuable to Ankara in achieving this new influence. Further, now Biden,  with the genocide recognition,  has moved to strengthen the US hand in presently politically chaotic Armenia, while retaining its long-time links  to Azerbaijan (especially in energy matters such as the new Southern Corridor Pipeline v. Russian gas-supply dominance of Europe). So, Biden et al have given Erdogan a rather humiliating reminder of how contingent his power projections are, ultimately, on the US superpower and NATO.

Dr. Thomas O’Donnell, Wikistrat key trends in Middle East, May 2021

Read my analysis: https://www.wikistrat.com/post/key-trends-in-the-middle-east-in-may-2021

Also, I speak to Erdogan’s recent ambitious projections of power throughout Mideast & Caucuses are being hindered by Turkish economic disfunction at home.