By Stephen Blank (vol. 5, no. 1 of the Turkey Analyst)
New tension is brewing between Turkey and Cyprus after Cyprus’ and Israel’s enormous gas finds in the Eastern Mediterranean in 2010-11 and Turkey’s extremely negative reaction to those finds. Turkey can be embroiled with a conflict, not only with Cyprus, its European backers and Israel, but with Russia as well. The Cyprus energy conflict demonstrates the urgency of making progress on the tangled issue of Cyprus’ future and the relationships among its two ethnoreligous groups and of fully integrating Turkey into Europe.
By Richard Weitz (vol. 4, no. 6 of the Turkey Analyst)
The nuclear disaster in Japan has further complicated the complex energy relationship between Turkey and Russia. Frictions persist over Turkey’s reluctance to support Russia’s South Stream pipeline project and become ever more dependent on Russian energy sources. Turkey has already become one of the largest Russian gas importers; natural gas accounts for the highest share of the Turkish-Russian trade turnover. Turkey’s dependence on Russian energy is a cause of concern among officials in Ankara. Diversification of energy partners would leave Turkey less likely to be manipulated by the Kremlin, which occasionally uses its energy exports as a political weapon. Turkey’s energy policy exemplifies its paradoxical relationship with Russia: while Moscow and Ankara engage in an intense partnership, including in the energy sphere, they simultaneously fiercely compete with one another – again, in the same energy sphere.
By M. K. Kaya (vol. 2, no. 14 of the Turkey Analyst)
As Turkey has become estranged from its Western allies, especially as a result of having being cold-shouldered by the European Union, the country has come to develop closer relations with Russia, a historical rival. During the recent the visit of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin to Turkey, the two countries signed cooperation protocols in several fields, mostly regarding energy issues. The visit saw progress in advancing regional energy projects that benefit both countries, Turkey obtaining Russian support for its Samsun-Ceyhan oil project and Russia obtaining Turkish agreement for its South Stream gas project. The burgeoning relationship should nevertheless not be seen as an attempt by Ankara to distance itself from the West, but as a Russian move to fill the vacuum left by American and European neglect of Turkey.
By M.K. Kaya and Svante E. Cornell (vol. 2, no. 10 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Nabucco pipeline is key to Europe’s diversification of natural gas supply, but faces numerous problems. Turkey has been a problem country for Nabucco given the low level of coordination of Turkish policy on the issue and Ankara’s exaggerated demands. Nevertheless, Ankara now appears to have adopted a more realistic policy. However, Ankara’s stance on Nabucco and its rapprochement with Armenia did considerable damage to the project by putting into question Azerbaijan’s participation. Indeed, while Turkey appears less of a problem than a few months ago, the ball is now in Baku.
By the Editors (vol. 1, no. 5 of the Turkey Analyst)
Realizing the rising need for the transportation of the Caspian Basin’s energy resources to world markets in the 1990s, Turkish decision-makers claimed that “Turkey should become an energy corridor and an energy hub for producer and consumer countries”. All recent governments have to different degrees supported this vision. Turkey’s energy hub prospects were boosted by the rapid developments in the Turkish economy, which created an increasing demand for energy resources, and forced the “Energy Strategy” to the focal point of political and bureaucratic circles.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.